Nantucket Beach Club brings New England to the capital
In terms of location, there are few places better to open a pop-up bar in the summer months than on one of the capital’s gorgeous rooftops. With the Gherkin’s sleek curves as a backdrop, it’s hard not to create an ambiance of style and sophistication. The Nantucket Beach Club however, wants to play by different rules. By all means come in linen and suits, but be sure to take off the tie and have a good time.
Their New England beach theme, complete with decking and nautical uniforms, hopes to transport busy Londoners into a laid-back world of sun and surf. It largely does so, and plenty of the hotel’s guests will no doubt be found relaxing on this stunning rooftop bar during the summer months. The quality of the drinks certainly suggests so; a rather suspect sounding pint topped with beer slushie proved to be an intriguing fusion of textures and tastes that didn’t compromise on flavour. The slushie machine also churned out a raspberry and vodka mix, this time filling the glass rather than just topping it. It was equally delightful, its tangy freshness perfect for a summer’s evening. Lanson’s range of fine champagnes needs little introduction and they rounded off what was a versatile and thoroughly excellent selection.
Whilst the drinks were an undeniable success, the dining experience was more of a mixed bag. Seafood was, as you might expect from a nautically themed bar, plentiful. We were offered a bucket that included a promising selection ranging from lobster to mussels. The latter were well cooked but in desperate need of seasoning; a dash of pepper or a little butter would have gone a long way. This is, after all, an area renowned for its rich and creamy chowders and not for its minimalism. Corn on the cob could likewise have done with a little more flavour, either from the butter or from the grill. The lobster was far more satisfying, its delicate flesh served with a simple twist of lemon; uncomplicated and unfussy, it was a great example of New England-style cooking.
It remains to be seen whether lobster can be deemed bar food: it needs a table, solid tools and space to manoeuvre. Though it is striking served in its shell, it seems improbable that clientèle will pay top prices to coat their shoes in butter on a regular basis. When hot, the fries were delightfully moreish, accompanied by cheese that melted in rich tangles. However, served in wide baskets in the cool, London air, they quickly turned cold and chalky.
In any case, there’s clear potential here, and the issues encountered should easily be solved by the experienced team. With some fine tuning, the Nantucket Beach Club could certainly hold its own in the capital’s thriving rooftop scene.
Photos: Ned Malik except for inset by Jaroslav Scholtz
For further information about Nantucket Beach Club, 7 Pepys Street, London, EC3N 4AF, call 020 7709 1043 or visit here.