Broadgate Circle, the new City dining hub.
The lively launch of the new Broadgate Circle was a popular event this week. Many of the new restaurants had already opened the previous month, but the remaining few spread their doors wide so we could take a look at the fantastic job the designers have done to make the most of the new bright and airy arena. Staff circulated eagerly with sampler nibbles and cocktails at the canapé reception. Lots of folks straight from work, but a few celebrities were there too; cameramen snapped away and everything felt very red-carpet. The new Broadgate Circle is a huge improvement on the dark old donut tunnel, and you can stand in the middle of the arena and choose a cuisine from almost every continent.
Live and pumping dance jazz music on an intimate scaffold stage in the middle of the Circle encouraged the excitement but limited much conversation, so we dipped into a few of the restaurants to have a look around and take stock.
Entering the Circle from Liverpool Station’s Fulcrum sculpture, first on the right is the French style Aubaine (more later). Next on around the circle is the Crab Tavern. The surf and turf is relatively new to the UK so we had a good look around upstairs and downstairs here.
Comfortable leather pews and seats with sturdy thick wood tables. The seating areas are scattered around a larger area upstairs with varied seating for bar customers and diners but smaller nooks downstairs where you can also enjoy a clear view of the kitchen.
The Crab Tavern has plenty of seating outside, too, to take advantage of the Broadgate Circle’s famous sun trap.
Crab Tavern have a soft ‘shell’ launch with 50% off some of their dishes at the moment and you can check their website for more details or contact GM@CRABTAVERN.COM.
By this time, we had to speed things up, because we were running out of time to see everything else. The Comptoir Libanais is a Lebanese café and take-away. Full of mosaic designs and Lebanese art and craft gifts too, it is beautiful.
I didn’t get a chance to sample the test dishes, but you must pop in and take a look at this place to fill your culture cup.
I’ll be taking hubby to show him how nice it would be receive one of their decorated string bags for whatever the next special day is!
The Shoryu Ramen is receiving excellent feedback from guests. They have a varied Japanese menu and when they first opened, there were queues out of the door, which bodes well!
Like most of the restaurants in the Broadgate Circle, this one is open Monday to Sunday.
The Franco Manca pizza samples were to die for. Apparently they are renowned for serving the best sourdough pizza in London, all baked freshly on-site. I popped in to take a look at the huge wood burning ‘Tufae’ brick oven and shamelessly grabbed another slice.
Finally, we just had time to do a recce of The Botanist.
There is a welcoming and huge bar upstairs decorated with the now famous Hector the stuffed crocodile.
The dark wood and design features all make for a stylish modern gentleman’s club feel.
The elegant flying swan is on the way downstairs to the Soda Room which is open late into the night until 2am.
My gut feel is that the late opening will be very popular because, other than embarrassing himself at the younger rave clubs, where can a city gentleman go after time is called?
We had a table reserved at the French style Aubaine where our sampler menu started with the Aubaine planche a partager- a great selection of hor d’oeuvres of which the crispy squid with chilli and the prosciutto really stood out. Choice of main dishes included a very tasty goat’s cheese pastry. The sweet onion puree was delicious and the meal ended with a plate of mouthful cakes where we encountered the ultimate raspberry tart. Obviously the portions were sampler sizes, and they were all sweet and delectable but I’d have traded all the others for a second raspberry one! The staff were very attentive and I must congratulate them on serving a full house very promptly as we all filed in on cue within about 5 minutes of each other. All the guests seemed to enjoy the comfortable but stylish French café styling. My colleague chose the fish main (sea bass) with nice crispy skin and a beautifully prepared dish of seasonal vegetables on the side, but I was so busy with mine that I didn’t seize the day and a forkful.
After the dining, the party continued with DJs Gizzi Erskine and Nick Grimshaw.
So close to Spitalfields, and open at the weekends too, Broadgate Circle is all set to be a very popular hub. The Centre are planning events in the Broadgate Circle’s famous amphitheatre which really is an ideal venue with restaurants and bars in 360 degrees, hugging the space on 3 levels. As you will know, we’ve had events off and on there in its lifetime, but they’ve all had that “squeezed in the middle bit” problem. With the new piazza layout, and the restaurants and bars surrounding the area in the middle, you can instantly see that the space is better for entertainment in general. Let’s look forward to a fun summer itinerary here.
While the word is still getting out there, and the buzz of the launch lingers sweetly, this week is the perfect time to enjoy the music and magic planned during lunch and after work.
Thursday 11 June
Megan McConnell – performing at 12noon and again at 1.15pm
Enjoy vintage jazz from Megan McConnell – the perfect accompaniment for sunshine (fingers crossed).
The Duplettes – performing at 6.30pm and again at 7.45pm
With a single guitar and vocal, the Duplettes will be filling the amphitheatre with the soulful sounds of Americana.
Maximilian – performing from 6.30pm
Internationally recognised Maximillian entertains with his lightening fast speed, precision and i-magic.
Friday 12 June
Danny and Matt – performing at 12noon and again at 1.15pm
Soulful Liverpudlian vocalist Danny, and rythmic guitarist Matt will bring something special to your Friday lunchtime with a selection of pop and soul covers.
Urban Groove – performing from 6.30pm
Unwind with percussuionist Rich Ramsay, Aimee on Sax and DJ Max Elliott.
Tom London – performing from 6.30pm
Magician Tom London will get you talking with his routine of magic performed on your mobile phones and ipads.
Saturday 13 June
Rollin Dices – performing from 12noon till 1.45pm
Superstar breakers, Rollin Dices will perform their mind-blowing tricks in Broadgate Circle.
DJ Paulius – performing from 12noon till 1.45pm
Taking a break from his headline spot at Freedom Bar, Paulius will be DJing for Rollin Dices, and may join them for a performance or two!
NEB – performing from 12noon till 1.45pm
Specialising in both magic and mind reading, NEB will give you an unforgettable experience.
Emporuim – performing at 6.30pm and again at 7.45pm
The week of celebration ends with Emporuim, a DJ and electric violin duo with a striking stage presence, set to play us out with contemporary sounds.
Editor’s note: Passed by at lunchtime the following day and obviously the venue has already taken off extremelly well. It was really busy and Comptoir Libanais in particular was packed out, but all the open restaurants seemed to be doing great trade
For a few more details of the selection of restaurants take a look at our original article written before many of the venues had not yet opened. Click on Broadgate Circle to become major City eating and drinking hub