Kensington Roof Gardens is one of the country’s most astonishing venues. Situated on the roof of a building in Knightsbridge, London, it is a block-long collection of century-old gardens filled with fully grown trees, streams, bridges, arches and flamingoes.
Unfortunately it is now a private members’ club at night, and above it is a truly appalling restaurant called ‘Babylon’, or as we rechristened it, ‘Babyfood’. The prices are insane, the clientele is mainly orange-faced and stiletto-shod, and the food is some of the blandest I’ve eaten in London. Which is a shame, because it used to be very good indeed.
But you don’t go there for the food – you go for the gardens. However, this summer – the dullest and wettest since records began – is killing restaurants with outdoor areas. One starry French restaurant in Spittalfields, Le Bouchon Breton, has just been forced to close because it has a huge (deserted) terrace, and others with outdoor areas are doing very badly.
M&S sales have plunged partly because women aren’t buying summer clothes, and I daresay we’ll hear of other global-warming-related retail collapses – meanwhile we’re being encouraged to grow curry ingredients. This starts to suggest a new world in which Manchester becomes New Venice and the US mid-West plants millions of windmills.
I think, like the hero in JG Ballard’s eerily prescient ‘The Drowned World’, it’s time to start paddling South. Turkey would be good; strong economy, nice people, lovely weather, hammams. See you there.