Back in my 20s when I worked in television production, I often found myself at the iconic Television Centre in Shepherd's Bush, and was sad when it shut down a few years ago to become yet more swish apartments. It holds some lovely memories for me and so I was intrigued when my husband recently read that a temporary food court was opening on the roof of the old multi-storey carpark there. For 14 weeks over summer - while the rest of the surrounding site is still being built - four restaurants and two bars have made the 170-foot high rooftop their home. Set under a canopy of evergreen, ivy, wisteria and bougainvillea, with huge painted murals adorning the walls, the eatery has been designed as a piece of sunny European escapism for West London. The four restaurants - Patty & Bun, Salt Yard, Rabbit and LeCoq - have each designed bespoke 'street food' style menus at affordable prices. Think Spatchcock chicken, pork ribs, beef burgers, grilled lamb, tasty salads and much more.
We visited Pergola on the Roof on a Sunday lunchtime during its opening weekend. Located just across the road from Wood Lane tube station and directly opposite the immense Westfield shopping centre, the entrance is really easy to find - especially with its bright neon sign. We were shown to the lift by security guards and whisked up to the Mediterranean-themed rooftop. The floor is covered in white pebbles and as well as the food and drinks area, there are five pre-bookable day beds that fit up to 10 people - perfect for lounging around with friends in the summer sunshine.
The food court was pretty quiet - we were there particularly early as we had our two young children with us - and so we were able to sit down straight away. I think if we'd have tried to go any later in the afternoon or evening then we would definitely have found it a lot busier. They only take reservations for parties of 6 or more, so if your group is any smaller you can't book ahead, but they do have a certain number of tables that are for walk-ins only.
We settled onto our bench and selected some food - the beauty of the self-service set up is that you can choose things from each restaurant if you want to. We went vegetarian and ordered the Broad Bean Hummus, Sour Dough Crisp Bread and Purple Carrots (£6.50) from Rabbit, Grilled Aubergine, Smoked Burrata, Pheonix Farm Leaves and Orange Vinaigrette (£7.00) from Salt Yard, Charred Sweetcorn Polenta (£5.00) from Lecoq and for our three-year-old, some chips without the rosemary salt (£3.00) from Patty&Bun. As an aside, the menus aren't that child-friendly (unless you are lucky enough to have little ones with particularly adventurous taste buds), and there weren't any highchairs (although apparently they are getting some).
We washed our yummy food down with a complimentary cocktail from the central bar, which anyone can claim if they sign the visitors book online. The bar also stocks rose, whites, reds, bubbles, ciders and beers.
Pergola on the Roof is open Wednesday to Friday from 6pm until 11pm, Saturday from 12pm until 11pm, and Sunday from 12pm until 9.30pm. Under 18s are not allowed in after 5pm. Also, no external food or drink can be taken onto the premises and dogs are not permitted.
You can take advantage of this pop up food court until August 29th, after which the temporary restaurants will de-camp and the location transformed into a permanent venue in the form of the much pricier and very exclusive White City House.
We really enjoyed our experience at Pergola on the Roof, albeit a little rough around the edges; the toilets take the form of portacabins in the deserted carpark, and the surrounding area is adorned with tall cranes and rubble. Look beyond that though, and there are some lovely views across the rooftops of West London while you enjoy affordable food and drink in a very unique setting. Plus, I'm really pleased I got to see Television Centre again, even though it looks rather different to the last time I was there!