The Stratford Brasserie: Taking the 2012 Olympic Park up a notch
- Credit: sam a harris
I’ve been marvelling at the impressive architectural feat that is The Stratford ever since walking past last summer.
Three sky gardens are notched into the 42-storey cantilevered building, making you wonder how on earth the higher floors are possibly suspended in the air.
Ten years in the planning, it's not your typical development - as you would now expect from the man behind the Kings Cross hotel and the Chiltern Firehouse.
Harry Handelsman has pioneered new districts in London for almost three decades, and is credited with making Clerkenwell cool, kick-starting the King's Cross rejuvenation by restoring the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and, together with Andre Balazs, making Marylebone fashionable with the opening of Chiltern Firehouse.
His latest passion project is the hotly anticipated venue at the Olympic Park designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill - the World Trade Centre architects - and combines a hotel and serviced flats. It is still being kitted out with its finishing touches.
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But its stunning lobby restaurant with triple height ceilings, The Stratford Brasserie, has now opened its doors.
The open bar and kitchen are being run under the creative direction of Ben Harrington, who used to work at the Soho House Group and Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. His menu centres on light sharing dishes using seasonal British ingredients.
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I went with my daughter for an early Friday dinner and the menu didn't fail to impress. After a tour of the loft apartments and sky gardens and witnessing their stunning views across the marshes and central London, we went down to the brasserie to relax in the fenced outdoor area under the cantilevered "banana" parasols on a baking summer's evening. We refreshed our palates with a delicious fizzy strawberry, mint and ginger mocktail before gorging on a starter with a whole squidgy burrata cheese offset with the smoky tart flavours of broad beans, leaks and pine nuts (£11). We then shared a lamb rump (£28), chargrilled to perfection with the broccoli from a Sussex farm with links to the hotel, and a creamy cauliflower sauce. Three perfect pieces of crispy sea bass (£26) came with a red pepper purée and some Thai style crab hidden away in the flower of a baby courgette.
The all-day dining restaurant provides an elevated food offering unlike anything else in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and far superior to anything in the Westfield shopping chain next door.