The Aylesbury Rooftop Bar & Restaurant is owned by Jesse and Vanessa Gerner, the same couple who own Anada Restaurant on Gertrude St. Over two levels, downstairs the restaurant and upstairs the bar. It is that bar upstairs that I want to focus on.
To get upstairs you take a short elevator ride and come up through some billowy draped curtains to face the bar. To the right is obligatory bathrooms and to the left is the outdoor rooftop. Apologies for the blurry feel to my images, I think I did something to the settings. You are sitting nestled, literally, in amongst the other buildings. I guess this is the appeal of a rooftop bar. Be warned it is a reasonably small space, inside and out, but what it lacks in size is gains in atmosphere. Em, my dining/drinking partner for the night, agreed that this would be an excellent “date-night” spot. City lights, city scape, low lighting inside, all those old clichés that we really love deep down.
Having previously had cocktails at Bar Americano, we decided we needed some food with our drinks. Being a tapas menu and decided to sample a few dishes. We settled on smoked eel croquettes, mussels in tempura batter with walnuts, chorizo sandwiches and slow cook beef with potatoes. The eel croquettes were piping hot and crunchy on the outside and silky on the inside with a lovely smokiness. The chorizo was served liked a miniature burger, a slice of pan-fried chorizo with cheese and other condiments a bit of genius actually (up my sleeve for Christmas party fare). The slow cooked beef had a deep rich flavour and the potatoes perfectly cooked and seasoned, but the stand out for me were the mussels.
Fried in a light as a cloud tempura served with an emulsion of what tasted like olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning, flat leaf parsley and walnuts. The flavours were so light and fresh but amply salty. I could have eaten just that dish and been very happy with my lot in life. We shared a half bottle of chardonnay from Chablis, France (I didn’t make note of the vineyard).
I don’t know that there is much not to like about this rooftop bar, the view is incredible and the size makes you feel the intimacy of being at a friend’s place for a party. The only negatives for me were the service, it seemed a little disjointed, but as this place is new that will probably be ironed out. Whilst we had an attentive waitress, she was unable to describe the ingredients of the mussel dish which we both adored. The wine list is rather small, I expect most people drink by the glass or have a cocktail, but there was no indication on the menu that our Chardonnay was a half bottle, which at $51 was a little on the expensive side. Also worth noting, due to it’s outside nature people can smoke, this might bother some, but I didn’t find intrusive (even being an ex-smoker).
The restaurant downstairs was almost full and judging by what we ate upstairs would be well worth a visit. I will definitely be returning to The Aylesbury Rooftop, this week in fact.