An Unbelievably Good Sunday Roast? Just Go Deep Under The Royal Exchange In Bank

If I said Bank, typically known for suits and interest rates, would be home to one of London's best Sunday roasts, what would be your response? Bear with us (we’re intentional with this pun, as you’ll soon discover) and wave hello to The Libertine, a gorgeous subterranean restaurant and bar, which opened in 2022.

The Libertine Bank London | DesignMyNight

C'mon, look how amazing that piled-high plate is.

We’ll get the fun facts done first, as they’re pretty interesting. 1) This historical spot marks where Britain's very first royal alcohol license was granted, so we have a lot to thank this place for 2) in its past life, spices, silks and precious gems were stashed inside; you’ll see some artefacts presented in glass cabinets throughout. There are even unconfirmed rumours a bear was hidden here for a bit 3) in Tudor times, this underground space was where merchants and traders met after work for raucous shenanigans, away from the viewing public. Kinda similar to those wild Thursday night drinks nowadays and 4) eagle-eyed viewers of The Apprentice episode two would have spotted The Libertine as it was where the teams met to discuss plans. Phew, that’s a lot of intel.

Indeed, The Libertine restaurant had all the feels of a super-secret hangout. You go downstairs, past cute trinkets and forest green interiors, ending up directly facing the bar area before veering left under a mustard-coloured, almost regal-like velvet curtain. The whole area gave off an exclusive aura but at the same time was warm and friendly; imagine monochrome flooring, marble-topped tables and huge circular lampshades draped in trailing ivy. We particularly loved the lightbulbs presented in a sunrise shape and playful artwork dotted around too. The big attraction though were the multiple huge, exposed brickwork arches which were a proper sight, paired with tones of peach and gold.

The Libertine London Reviews | DesignMyNight

Covering burgers and oysters, The Libertine menu is perfect for entertaining.

The Libertine Royal Exchange dress code, despite its fancy location, is thankfully smart casual, and all diners seemed relaxed and genuinely enjoying their experience. As for the soundtrack? Think laid-back weekend tunes from Talking Heads and Kate Bush, though we bet things crank up a gear at night. Our first drinks were a glass of NV Prosecco Spumante (£8.25), delightfully fruity yet light, and an alcohol-free ginger mojito (£9). The latter hit the spot for my date; shaken up with apple, lime and agave, not forgetting sprigs of refreshing mint. Now, if you’ve met me, you’ll know vegan cheese is a nemesis of mine, but honestly I couldn’t tell the difference with the plant-based Grana Padano shavings on our gorgeous cauliflower arancini (£9). We devoured these three little spheres, which were crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle, plus the vegan aioli was a lovely accompaniment too. We could have eaten much more of them.

Needless to say, we were off to a flying start. And things continued on an upward trajectory, as our beautifully presented roast dinner feast literally filled the whole table. My boyfriend picked the dry-aged sirloin of beef (£26), a showstopper that featured thinly sliced and succulent meat alongside a garlic and thyme beurre noisette. Vegetarians, unite, and say three cheers for an option that wasn’t a bloody nut roast. The Lincolnshire squash pithivier (£23) proved to be a highlight of my visit, bringing together earthy mushroom duxelle, savoy cabbage and beetroot into one banging pie. The crumbling, golden, flaky pastry was particularly great as well. 

The Libertine Royal Exchange London | DesignMyNight

A treasure trove of nooks and rooms can be found at The Libertine Bank.

Both of these towering plates boasted veggies galore, including perfectly cooked carrots, silky parsnip purée and confit garlic greens. Our only minor grumble is that we would have preferred the potatoes to be a bit crispier, but honestly, we didn’t mind as the colossal Yorkshire puddings more than made up for it. The gravy was served on its own, ideal for pouring where and when you like, plus it was also refillable (a big win). Can’t decide between the sides? Our advice, just order what you want as they’re delicious. The honey-glazed, juicy and sticky pigs in blankets (£7) were scoffed down by my other half like a wild animal (he loved the crispy streaky bacon) while The Libertine cauliflower cheese (£6.75) delighted on all fronts. This fan fave has the tendency to be hit and miss but we adored the herby crust on top, slightly charred florets and gooey, thick, oozy cheese.

As I sipped another glass of prosecco, we browsed the decent-looking dessert menu, detailing everything from petit fours to wine and port, which was very in-keeping with the area. As you can imagine, we were rather full by this point, so shared the final course. Let’s just say they’re not messing around with the sticky toffee pudding (£9), as the dish was exactly the right texture (dense 'n' chewy). Paired with vanilla ice cream and swimming in gorgeous, sweet sauce, it was a surefire 10/10.

The DesignMyNight Digest

As it’s owned by The Incipio Group, who also look after Lost in Brixton and The Prince, you know you’re in safe hands at The Libertine. This epic hangout could be described as a hidden gem as you wouldn’t expect to find such a quality roast dinner in the heart of London’s financial district, tucked under the stunning Royal Exchange. Our waiter Ailis was wonderful, and we’ll certainly be back again.

  💰 The damage: £109.75, plus service charge.

  📍  The location: Royal Exchange, Cornhill, London, EC3V 3LL.

  👌 Perfect for: Sunday sessions with your group.

 ⭐ Need to know: Free-flowing red wine upgrades are just £25 per person (for 90 minutes). 


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