One of the best pieces of travel advice I’ve been given is to always look up. It’s all too easy nowadays to get swept away at ground level that you forget to appreciate things that aren’t immediately obvious. But what if I told you there’s a new rooftop bar where you don’t need to squint and strain your eyes to see London in all its glory? Meet Florattica in Aldgate, which opened last December.
It’s worth adding that you have to do a tiny bit of detective work to find this stunning hideaway. It's high up on the 11th floor of Canopy by Hilton London City, but those who aren’t a resident have to go around the side street to enter. Although initially worried we were being pranked by the hotel staff, we found the doorway, and started to get excited about what would shortly be revealed.
The space is every bit as beautiful as the pictures. The emerald green, silk-lined walls are a cunning reference to the work by local 17th century French Huguenots and provide a contrast to the sleek, marble-topped bar area. But the big selling point? That ceiling, of course. During the day, the incredible installation looked to take on a pinkish hue, but when we visited on a busy and bustling Thursday night, it seemed to turn almost copper coloured. Giving me all the autumnal feels, I can tell you that this is not your normal display, think wild bouquets and gypsophila dotted with pretty individual lights.
Everything is flower-related here, from the interiors to the drinks. Indeed, head mixologist Serena Carrino, previously of Nightjar, has curated a stunning selection of serves that are all united by botanical ingredients. Oh, and even the menu itself was divine, make sure to really browse to appreciate the intricate illustrations (you might need your phone torch by the way, the dimly lit surrounds, although atmospheric, make reading a little difficult).
Now, let’s talk views. Florattica benefits from a large, sweeping window that fills the whole left-hand side, boasting an epic panorama including the Gherkin, St. Paul's Cathedral and Walkie Talkie. The Thames peeks over the horizon, plus the twinkling glow of the city was a joy to behold. There are no worries about padding yourselves out with insulation either, as the outdoor terrace is properly heated.
After conversations with our chatty and friendly host, we opted for two dazzling cocktails. They took the time to suss out our tastes or likes, and following my declaration of love for the marg, they recommended an Alma (£18). Don’t let this dainty tipple fool you into thinking it’s shy or introverted, oh no, it seriously packed a punch with smoky mezcal and Ancho Reyes. It tasted almost peppery but was offset by the lavender syrup and hibiscus. My date opted for the Holy Ghost (£18), and they weren’t lying when they described it as boozy. The mix of Bulleit Bourbon, Singleton 12 and Noilly Prat smacked the back of his throat instantly, but if you sip small amounts at a time, you notice the delightful sweet notes at the end.
As for the food, Florattica promises sharable, modern British plates that change according to what’s in season. The freshness is clear to see, starting with two native oysters (£4.50 each). Served on a bed of ice, these delicious morsels were drizzled with a decadent champagne and white balsamic vinaigrette, flecked with crunchy chive. We were eagerly anticipating trying the addition of the raspberry, and although you couldn’t taste it that much, this dish stood out in all the right ways. The plates then came out thick and fast, including the traditional lobster roll (£18). Presented like an elevated take on the humble hot dog, this belly-filling brioche bun was overflowing at the sides with smooth crème fraîche and lemon oil.
To soak up the booze? I went for the cheese board (£22 for two, but to be honest, I ate most myself). Highlights include the Ossau Iraty which was a great match with the pear slices, plus the Killeen Gouda was earthy, nutty and downright amazing. I ate the Baron Bigod brie like it was birthday cake, it was that good, not to mention the raisin-like crisp bread was unusually chewy and satisfying. The Cashel Blue, although not to my taste, was buttery yet acidic, but was nice sandwiched in between a wafer-thin cracker.
After a bit of gazing and grazing, we chose more superb cocktails. The Avalon (£16) was our host's favourite, and we can certainly see why. Mixed with Tanqueray and apple sherbert, making it taste exactly like a Parma Violets candy, it was also given a VIP edge with Moét & Chandon Champagne. We were given a disclaimer before ordering the Soul Kick (£16), not just because it was pretty potent, but because the texture was slightly thicker than standard tipples. Yes, the two different whiskeys and Dry Curacao cut through right to my date's core, but the orgeat syrup finished things off in style.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Florattica, you certainly ain’t holding back. This new kid on the block is showing London how it's done when it comes to knockout cocktails, jaw-dropping interiors and enviable skylines. We adored the references to East London’s historic textile industry, including the heavenly patterned velvet seats, and even though it's in the heart of suited-and-booted territory, the charm and class of this rooftop shined through. We’ll certainly be back in the summer.
💰 The damage: £117, excluding service.
📍 The location: 11-15 Minories, London, EC3N 1AX.
👌 Perfect for: Admiring the cityscape with a quirky cocktail in hand.
⭐ Need to know: We made a serious error by not ordering the stunning Florattica Rose dessert. Don't do the same.