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Review: RSC Rooftop Restaurant

Hidden gem in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon? Find out why Muddy thinks this rooftop restaurant is one of the top places to eat with gorge views to boot.

THE LOCATION

The name’s a bit of a giveaway here – though this little gem is hidden at the very top of the RSC Theatre (don’t worry, there’s a lift) and is ideal if you fancy a pre-show dinner with a view.

Smack bang in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, the restaurant is surrounded by awesome hotels (we love The Arden), and has unparalleled views across the town and river. I mean, just look…

THE VIBE

It’s all about relaxed fine dining – chilled and contemporary, but with smartly-dressed and attentive staff. On the day I visited it was buzzy, despite being late afternoon, with many people getting in a last-minute meal before catching a show.

Decor-wise it’s very cool and airy with an industrial, New York loft feel. RSC posters plaster the bare brick walls and tables are nicely spaced out so you don’t have to listen to the next table’s conversation.

SCOFF & QUAFF

There’s a lovely drinks list and I can’t recommend the Joseph Mellot rose from the Loire valley strongly enough – it’s fruity, floral, light and dry. If white’s more your thing, the Sauvignon Blanc is delicious too.

The pre-theatre menu is available here on show days, and is a real crowd-pleaser. There’s something for everyone with pulled ham hock fritters or smoked salmon mousse among the choices for starters, and vegan tagine or pan-fried fillet of sea bream some of the options for mains.

To start I went for the marinated Worcestershire heirloom tomatoes with feta, watercress, sauce vierge, pine nuts and croutons. Its was deliciously light and fresh – the perfect choice on a hot day and if you’re taking on three courses (a challenge I am always willing to accept).

The buttermilk bang bang chicken was a lovely light choice too, enjoyed by my dining partner, with crisp and fine batter, complimented perfectly with a tangy sweet chilli glaze, satay dressing and an Asian salad.

For mains I was torn between the Middle Eastern tagine or the lemon and herb popcorn chicken Caesar salad. Being as it was one of those very rare days when it was hotter than 25 degrees I opted for the salad, and it was probably one of the best I’ve ever had. The chicken was covered in something akin to Rice Krispies and deep fried – maybe avoid this one if you’re looking for the healthy option – and covered in homemade dressing, fresh croutons and bacon and resting on top of some crisp lettuce. It was truly a triumph, I didn’t know a salad could taste so good – top marks chef!

The skillet roasted pork cutlet across the table from me came with parsley butter, jersey royals and tender stem broccoli with a mustard sauce was a hearty affair. The delicious sauce was just begging to be mopped up with chunky chips.

For pud I couldn’t turn down the burnt egg custard with lavender and tuile. I love floral flavours and this really packed a punch. It had a really heady hit of lavender and the burnt top and tuile a great contrast to the creamy egg custard.

The Sicilian lemon meringue pie that my mate chose was sharp and sweet – just what you need after a filling meal. One of those that you keep popping back for ‘just another bite’ and before you know it’s all gone.

OUT & ABOUT

Chances are if you’re heading here you’re going to a show afterwards – Richard III is on at the minute and definitely worth a look. There’s plenty to do nearby though if you want to make a day or night of it – lots of lovely indie shops and bars, the MAD Museum and Magic Alley are worth a visit too, or jump on a boat and head down the Avon. There’s also Shakespeare’s birthplace and Holy Trinity Church too where the Bard’s grave lies.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Pre-theatre dining (obvs) or if you fancy great food with views to match (who doesn’t?). I truly think this is one of the best value for money places to eat in the town – a real gem.

Not for: Serving times are intermittent so don’t expect to just rock up and expect the restaurant to be open. Check online first and make a reservation as it books up fast.

The damage: It’s contemporary dining and there wasn’t a morsel I didn’t like, which makes it even more surprising that it’s really outstanding value. Two courses on the pre-theatre menu (served only on show days) will set you back £25 while three courses comes in at £29. 

RSC Rooftop Restaurant, 3rd Floor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BB. Tel: 01789 403449

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