Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Rotary Bar and Diner - Old Street roundabout revitalised

rotary bar and diner review old street
Rotary Club at City Road near Old Street roundabout on a quiet weekend afternoon

Address: 70 City Road,
London EC1Y 2BJ
Phone: 020 7065 6800
Nearest Overground station:
Old Street

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £20
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ***
Service: ***
Ambience: ***
Another piece by TT - she was out and about at Old Street roundabout when... 

Thank goodness for the on-going regeneration of the Old Street roundabout. I may not be a fan of the high rise new developments sprouting up in the area but at least the regeneration is breathing life into the restaurant scene in that area. It used to be that your best food for decent food in the vicinity would be Vietnamese food at Cay Tre. Now you have MEATmission, Tramshed, Salvation Jane and Ozone to choose from. The list is growing and one of the newest additions to the list is the Rotary Bar and Diner.

rotary bar and diner review old street
The thing about popups is that you can never be sure...

The Rotary Bar and Diner is a 10 month pop up. It occupies this old and dreary place along City Road literally next to the roundabout. I often walked past the place but was never sure what occupied the space before the Rotary Club came along. We visited on a Saturday for lunch and it was quite empty. I guess that is to be expected - the City is not exactly the destination for a weekend lunch. The decor is retro vintage. They have a very 70s' wallpaper featuring a waterfall and forest scene covering the entire wall facing the doorway. Not sure if that was left behind by the previous occupiers (this is a pop up after all) or a deliberate attempt at retro kitsch.

rotary bar and diner review old street fried chicken wings
Buttermilk fried chicken wings - fingers licking good

They have a very simple menu consisting of a short list of snacks, burgers, grilled meats and puddings. Apparently they will add barbecued food to the menu once they are properly set up. We had buttermilk fried chicken wings (£5) as the starter. It was delicious, easily the best fried chicken wings I had in London. This set high expectations for our mains.

rotary bar and diner review old street cornish day boat
Day boat bun

I ordered the day boat bun (£10) which is simply put a burger with pickles and cornish pollack deep fried in buttermilk. A posh fish finger sandwich really. The bun had a nice texture but I thought the fish was rather flaccid with a musty freezer smell.

rotary bar and diner review old street beef burger
Beef burger

My friend had the beef burger (£10) named the rotary burger. He thought it was decent but that Hawksmoor's version was better on that there was more bite in their meat. Then again Hawksmoor's is more expensive at £15. And they can do with larger plates for everything was spilling all over the place once we got started. Both burgers came accompanied with a sizable pile of chips so we had no room for desert.

Perhaps not quite the gourmet destination yet but certainly a welcome addition to the hood. I hear that Yum Bun has finally opened up next door offering steamed buns with delectable fillings only at £3.50 a pop. Suddenly working or living near the City does not seem so bad after all!

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