Rooftops aren’t Just for Summer! Laurel’s on the Roof is Bringing the LA Pool Party Zeitgeist to East London

I maintain the opinion that some of the world’s best bars are inside hotels. Because a drink at a hotel bar is so much more than a drink, it’s a window to another world, where the people-watching opportunities are infinite and the settings are designed to facilitate escapism.

Nowhere is this truer than at Laurel’s on the Roof, 2022s new addition to the London rooftop bar and restaurant scene. 

Because where else can you step off the street in East London on a dark, damp, storm-impending October evening and be transported to the glamorous world of 1970s Hollywood? Complete with an aquamarine rooftop pool, frozen margaritas, lobster rolls and a disco soundtrack tinkling over from the DJ decks.  

The vibes at Laurel’s are immaculate, from the service: friendly, not overbearing, to the aesthetics: palm prints and rattan furniture aplenty, to the music: loud enough to create ambience, quiet enough to hold conversation round a table.

If this all sounds rather unfitting with England’s far from Hollywood climes, don’t worry. Laurel’s is an indoor restaurant and bar that cleverly uses floor to ceiling windows that bring the outdoors in. There’s seating outside for warmer days too. Rooftop bars aren’t just for summer! 

The menu draws on Californian classics, with signature dishes including the Malibu shrimp cocktail, ‘Half a Dozen’ Jersey oysters, and Cobb salad. The cocktail menu mirrors the playful nostalgia of the food menu, incorporating bold flavours served in 70’s inspired glassware; choose from an eclectic menu including frozen spicy margaritas, Japanese garibaldis, or the wet Gibsons.

With it being Friday, it felt fitting to start our meal with cocktails – the mezcalito and bitta melon mixes spoke to us. My mezcalito (mezcal, fino sherry, grapefruit, lime, basil) was fruity with a grown-up smoky aftertaste, whilst the bitta melon tasted like a boozy mouthful of sherbet dip dap. 

As a seafood fiend, the food menu at Laurel’s read like a run through of all my favourite dishes. We shared two starters: Malibu shrimp cocktail and Tuna Tostadas. The former elevates the UK’s favourite starter: prawn cocktail, to new heights, arriving in a martini glass crowned with four of the plumpest, juiciest prawns, all bathed in Marie Rose sauce and a jalapeno-spiked tomato salsa. The Tuna Tostadas were filled with as-fresh-as-you-like soy, citrus, and chilli-marinated ceviche tuna topped with the crispiest shallot slivers and chipotle mayo. Tasty, light mouthfuls, that were ideal for sharing.

Laurel’s main menu is full of Cali favourites that feel like a naughty treat – think lobster rolls, classic cheeseburgers, grilled rib-eye steak and the best ‘sunset fries’ dusted with spices, dipped into creamy ranch mayo. Lobster roll is up there on my desert island dinner menu, so I had to order this – and it was excellent; plenty of sweet lobster meat bound with mayo crammed into a buttery brioche bun. I also ordered the corn ‘ribs’ as a side which were some of the best I’ve had, nicely spiced and satisfying grilled with a bit of bite – I finished the whole plate.

As I don’t eat steak, I asked my partner to put into few words what he thought of his order: ‘I’ve had more bad steaks than good, so don’t often go for it these days. I went for the 250g ribeye, medium rare. Crucially it was grilled, not fried, meaning the soft centre was nicely set off against the charred edges of each of the eight or so delicious slithers. Lightly salted and with a sweet chimichurri dip on the side, it re-energised my faith in steak. It’s so often not quite right, but when it’s done like this, it’s unbeatable.’ 

As you can imagine, we were pretty satisfied after all that food, but I’m never one to shy away from a dessert, and the Mango and Passionfruit panna cotta proved to be the perfect end. The mango puree topping tasted so fresh and beautifully complemented the coconut brittle that was reminiscent of honeycomb. My only disappointment being it arrived in a glass so I couldn’t see the panna cotta wobble (one of the simple pleasures of this dish).

We also tried the Ruby Coconut  Chocolate Chip ice cream sandwich which was like a luxurious version of the famous Oreo staple (what’s not to like?). 

Afterwards, we took a visit to the poolside terrace, framed by the twinkling city skyline. It’s seriously beautiful up there and I can’t wait to come back in summer. Stepping back into the stormy night after dinner, by which point the heavens had opened, made Laurel’s feel more like a dream-like experience; had we really been dining poolside just minutes ago? This restaurant feels like it has been touched by some Hollywood magic! I’m putting Laurel’s high up on my list of London’s best hotel hangouts. 

Make a reservation here! Or visit Laurel’s On The Roof on Instagram @laurels.ontheroof

Sophie Green

Sophie Green is PR Manager for a designer flash sale website and part-time fashion blogger, having founded her fashion and shopping blog in 2012. Finding a passion for the industry at a young age, Sophie studied Fashion Communications at university and has worked in the industry for over a decade, heading up the PR departments of several fashion and fine jewellery brands. Through her fashion blog she has worked on campaigns with brands including UGG Australia, La Redoute and Headmasters and counts sitting opposite Anna Wintour at the Topshop Unique LFW show as a career highlight! Outside of work Sophie likes to unwind by hitting the gym for a boxing class or ‘researching’ the best G&T’s the capital has to offer. Her fashion obsession is sequins, with an entire section of her wardrobe dedicated to all things-sparkly!