While we may now be able to dine indoors, that does not give us permission to forget about some of London’s most beautiful rooftop retreat. One of the city’s most iconic drinking, dining (and dancing) rooftop retreat in Madison: a sleek and contemporary space famous for its postcard-worthy vista of St Paul’s cathedral.
I make my way along the Central line from west to east, disembarking at St Paul’s before navigating my way a two short minutes to Madison. Over the years Madison has established itself as a carefree destination with a fun-loving attitude, inviting swathes of hedonistic groups up its transparent lift for a guaranteed good time.
I arrive downstairs ready for its ascent and feel I’ve stepped onto the set of TOWIE. Vivacious characters frosted in glitter and tropical tans form an orderly queue toward a group of bouncers with anticipated enthusiasm for the evening ahead of them. It’s May 2021 and this is the closest experience to queueing for ‘a club’ I’ve had in over a year.
Madison doesn’t do things in halves and this includes re-opening following the pandemic. Living up to its name, its glamourous rooftop space vibrates unmissable energy – reminding guests of restaurants in London most glamourous dining scenes. Scattered with heaters for the colder months, and plenty of corners to soak up the sunshine on warmer days – this Manhattan-style destination, along with a loyal and lively crowd is also a very good restaurant. Dishes that aren’t too fussy and are simply designed to satisfy, washed down with colourful cocktails.
Head Chef, Mike Denham, has curated a luxury-led menu with decadent sharing platters to entice diners back, that in reflection of its rooftop setting, combines playful takes on American classics, peppered with influences from the diverse communities of New York.
Starters tick all the boxes to ensure expectant diners are happy. From these, we choose a large and creamy burrata with slow-roasted peppers, bright green pesto, and croutons, alongside a spiced sweet potato hummus topped with feta and pomegranate seeds. If you choose to order in line with the celebratory theme Madisons is known for, then caviar for two or an Italian charcuterie are also available.
The menu here centres around its leading ‘Specialities for Two’ – these showcase platters of lobster and tomahawk steak swimming in garlic butter. With a focus on the grill and the best steaks from around the world, my guest (a particular carnivore) chooses the 8oz Argentinian sirloin steak from the ‘Josper Grill Mains’ and I follow suit paired with a pungent blue cheese and bourbon sauce. The tender steaks sit alongside sides to share (that almost steal the show) including truffle and parmesan fries and red Leicester mac ‘n’ cheese.
We almost opt-out of dessert; however, our assertive and helpful waitress has other ideas suggesting we share the soft-baked choc chip cookie dough. Laced with a hot chocolate sauce, caramel biscuits, and milk ice cream, this ‘Instagenic’ dessert makes for a great show on social media, paired with the tangerine, urban sunset, and places to eat in London treated us to that evening.
Surprisingly flexible, this year make a reservation in advance or simply just walk in for an afternoon or evening at Madison. Over at the bar, that is moments from the resident open-air DJ, there are a collection of cocktails that are reminiscent of Madison’s simply stunning setting.
These include the St Paul Sunset – a fabulous mix of Belvedere Vodka and the Ratafia black cherry with red wine liquor, pineapple tepache, vanilla, lemon, and egg white. Meanwhile the ‘VIP Bottle Service’ is as glamourous as it sounds, listing all the labels you would expect from Dom Perignon and Veuve Clicquot champagne to 6L bottles of Belvedere Vodka: all perfect tokens to celebrate the reopening of city life.