Imagine Magaluf but populated entirely by people who work in finance – that’s Broadgate Circle on a balmy summer evening. It’s a mad, sweaty cauldron full of pink-faced men drinking lager and gently glistening in the heat. Take a step back from the epicentre and you’ll find a second, slightly elevated circle of bars and restaurants that, while only metres from the scrum, seem serene by comparison. The newest addition is Revolve, a new French brasserie… with a twist.
Does it… revolve?
No, it does not spin on its axis, this being a regular building with foundations. London hasn’t been home to a rotating restaurant since the BT Tower – which would spin 360 degrees once every 23 minutes – closed following an IRA bomb in 1971 (it would occasionally function as a pop-up after that but even that seems to have stopped).
Revolve is called Revolve because it will feature a revolving line-up of “some of the world’s top culinary stars”, with a menu designed by a different chef each month. On the roster so far is Lee Westcott (formerly of Michelin-starred Pensons and The Typing Room), John Javier (17 Little Portland St), Josh Eggleton (Pony Restaurant Group), Anna Hansen (formerly of The Modern Pantry) and Gareth Ward (Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms). There’s also a permanent a-la carte “inspired by the great brasseries of Paris and New York”.
What does it look like?
This is expensively-kitted-out-restaurant-design-101. Lots of glass and copper and dark wood and neutral colours, accented by paintings by big-name artists including Damian Hirst. It’s the kind of place you’d be hard pressed to describe mere seconds after leaving, the interior design equivalent of a late night taxi journey, pleasant but unremarkable. The ground floor is divided between the bar and restaurant, and there’s a private dining room upstairs with views down onto the circle. There’s also a terrace where you can enjoy those summer evenings in relative peace.
It’s the work of Tristram Hillier (a wine expert who used to run Corney & Barrow, not the surrealist painter), Andrew Fishwick (the operations guy) and Romain Pottier (who helped launch Sushisamba and Sky Garden).
And the food?
While each guest chef promises to bring something different, the in-house menu by Arran Smith (formerly of Scott’s) is tres traditional brasserie fare. Escargots, moules, steak tartare. All the biggies.
I had a solid seafood cocktail – everybody seems to be doing seafood cocktails these days – followed by a nicely-cooked poached trout.
Elsewhere on the table I spied a generous salad niçoise and a fine-looking fish pie. There were no fireworks, but that’s not really the point.
This is not a restaurant that invites a deep analysis of the composition of the steak tartare, or a 1,000-word essay on the delicate umami flavours of the broadbean risotto. It’s a reasonable lunch option should you happen to be in the area, a sizable step above the mid-market chains that dominate Broadgate Circle.
What about the wine?
A highlight. The sommelier recommended a snappy Voignier – £50 from bang in the middle of the wine list – and an even better bottle of red that tasted exactly like Pinot Noir but was not Pinot Noir. Both were excellent and about 1,000 times better than the sugary cocktails on sale in the cauldron.
• Revolve Brasserie: 100 Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2PP; 0203 146 9603; revolve.london