One of the lovely things about London is that you can travel the world without ever going anywhere. There is such a vast amount to of international cuisines represented in this city. From Japanese Ramen, to Peruvian Ceviche, to your good old classic Italian.
Recently as house prices are ever more increasing and becoming progressively unaffordable for your average couple, Gary and I have seriously been considering moving to the countryside. Mind you, I still need to finish my part 3 in Architecture, so we will be staying in this amazing city for at least another three years. But we just cannot fathom settling down in London for the long-term.
This in turn means that we are eager to make the most of our cosmopolitan life in the capital in the mean-time. We are planning to visit as many attractions as we can and eat at as many restaurants as possible.
There are so many amazing restaurants in London, so it’s always exciting to find a new place to frequent. A couple of weeks ago we were delighted when we were asked to pop into Rocket and try their Italian-Asian-Infused menu, served with a healthy twist. Here’s what we thought of it.
ROCKET – THE CHAIN
Rocket is a boutique group of restaurants in London and Nottingham that specialises in gourmet Italian-Asian infused dishes.
There are trendy Rocket Restaurants scattered throughout the heart of the city, with four of the chain currently located in London and all branches very successful with buzzing weekday and weekend crowds.
Rocket in Bishopsgate is located right next to Liverpool Street, a short walk down towards Shoreditch. It’s pretty easy to find, with its large windows facing on to the busy street.
THE INTERIOR AND ATMOSPHERE
As we entered the elaborate and lavish decor told me this was something a little more special than “casual city dining” – unassuming, yet of high quality tastes.
As the waiter greeted us at the entrance then showed us to our table in the cosy basement venue, it was clear this was going to be a much more notable dining experience than Rocket had modestly let on.
Whenever I have walked passed the Bishopsgate branch on my way home after work, the restaurant has been filled with city slickers enjoying cocktails and bites.
This Saturday noon, the restaurant was understandably quiet, due to its location in the financial district. This didn’t bother us though, as it meant each course was perfectly timed and we could relax and hear ourselves speak.
The restaurant itself has a great vibe. You will find both an upstairs bar on the first floor (which can be hired out), as well as a ground floor bar and restaurant. The interior is funky and modern, with a slight retro twist. You will find designer decor everywhere, including a wall of plates, a pillar of wine, a modern interpretation of the girl with a pearl earring and space invaders on the stairs.
THE MENU AT ROCKET’S
Rocket’s menu is an interesting fusion of Italian, Mediterranean, Asian and Californian favourites. Dishes such as Surf & Turf Salad of black tiger prawns, baby squid and seared rare beef embody the sunshine of America’s favourite beach city. Mediterranean influences make an appearance in Moroccan Spiced Paneer, Halloumi and Tofu Skewers. Whilst dishes such as Thai crab cakes represent the Asian part of the Globe.
But Rocket’s speciality is Italian stone baked pizzas. Classics such as a margherita, or prosciutto & rocket are available for traditionalist, but more exciting are the fusion of flavours presented on thin crusty bases such as smoked black pudding, butterfly king prawns and pancetta. Or the one Gary chose, barbecued pulled pork shoulder with rainbow slaw, chipotle spiced tomato sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
COCKTAILS AT ROCKET’S
I’M IN LOVE WITH THE COCO
We started with a few cocktails while deciding what to order. Gary chose the humorously-named I’m in Love with the CoCo– A sinful blend of Kappa Pisco, Frangelico, Koko Kanu, fresh lime and egg white served straight up (£8.50).
Its fresh smell of lime and coconut immediately invaded my nose. The cocktail was surprisingly light with a lovely texture from the egg foam. The lime and Pisco added bitterness, but overall the drink was nicely balanced, with just about the right amount of sweetness from the Koko Kanu and Frangelico.
PASSION FRUIT LEMONADE
Gary, being the designated driver as always, chose the alcohol free Passion Fruit Lemonade (£4.50). Made up of passion fruit purée and syrup with soda and a dash of fresh lemon.
It was sweet, strong, juicy, sparkly and nicely presented with a fresh half passion fruit. A drink made for summer.
STARTERS AT ROCKET’S
THAI CRAB CAKES
As soon as I saw the Thai Crab Cakes (7.5£) on the starter menu, that was my mind made up! Served with Cucumber and Daikon Radish Ribbons with pickled ginger and lime zest the dish was the perfect refreshing yet flavoursome way to begin my meal.
The Crab Cakes were plump, soft and beautifully golden on the outside. I loved the aromatic flavours from the lime and ginger and the tomato mayonnaise was sweet, slightly sour, punchy and tasted home-made.
I particularly enjoyed the addition of the cured ginger, which worked lovely in combination with the crab meat.
BUFFALO MOZARELLA, CHERRY TOMATOS & BASIL
Gary, on the other hand, decided to go for the Caprese Salad (6.9£). Which was very refreshing and served as large wedges of Buffalo Mozzarella, with flavorsome cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic and basil on a toasted artisan bread.
The homemade pesto was incredibly flavorsome, with a strong nutty taste. The tomatoes came in a variety of colours and the mozzarella was very fresh. The artisan’s bread was perfectly crisp.
I actually really enjoyed this starter myself and had more than a forkful.
MAIN COURSES AT ROCKET’S
MISO SALMON FILLET WITH LOTUS CRISPS
With the expertly sourced seafood seeming to be so fresh and tasty, I continued this theme on to my main too, as I ordered the Miso Salmon Fillet with Lotus Root Crisps (£16).
The large fillet of high quality salmon was cooked so it remained perfectly pink and tender in the middle. The fillet was coated in poppy and sesame seeds that added a lovely crunch.
The crisp lotus root was delicious and contributed some additional texture. The dish was served with a warm salad of spouting broccoli, roasted fennel, sugar snap peas, chantenays, babycorn and roast cherry tomatoes. Although the vegetables were unfortunately slightly underdone for my taste, they were still absolutely flavoursome, and so substantial, I didn’t even need any carbs on the side.
This main course was so healthy yet very moorish, perfect for any city girl.
BARBECUE PULLED PORK STONE BAKED PIZZA
Unable to resist the Italian speciality, Gary chose the Barbecue Pulled Pork Pizza (£13) topped with pork shoulder, BBQ sauce, mozzarella and rainbow slaw. To my dismay, since I was intrigued what it would taste like, Gary asked to have the pizza without the slaw.
The stone baked pizzas are a must have at Rocket’s and large enough to share.
The dough was fluffy, light and perfectly thin. The pulled pork shoulder was generously scattered with jalapeños, mozzarella and BBQ sauce. They certainly did not skimp on the toppings!
Gary was surprised to find that the pork was flavoursome, soft and came in big chunks. He told me the pizza reminded him of a summer barbecue.
DESSERTS AT ROCKET’S
PECAN & TREACLE TART
Despite the hugely generous portion sizes, the food so far had been so tasty that we just couldn’t turn down the desert and somehow found room for dessert.
I went for the Pecan Pie served with vanilla ice cream (£6.60).
The rich, moist pecan pie was incredibly luxurious and tasty, filled with nutty goodness and topped with fine, creamy vanilla ice cream.
This was definitely a very unhealthy desert, but oh-so delicious. Sometimes it’s worth just not caring!
KEY LIME PIE
Gary decided to go for a “lighter” option of Key Lime Pie (£6.20). OK, well it was lighter than the Pecan Pie, Sticky Toffee Pudding or Chocolate Brownie!
The pie was incredibly creamy and sweet, with a hint of lime. As soon as it hit our tastebuds, all plans of remaining healthy were quickly forgotten.
Overall, Gary and I had a fantastic experience, and I would definitely recommend anyone to give one of Rocket’s five branches a shot. Whether it be a formal business dinner, easy lunch with friends, or the amazing buffet breakfast, I am convinced you will not leave Rocket’s disappointed!
The service was swift and friendly, and the food lovely. The location near Bishopsgate is perfect for an after-work dinner and the bar upstairs is great for a private celebrations or even a corporate event. This restaurant is large enough for a big group and would be ideal for a birthday celebration or annual Christmas party.
Price wise, given the extremely generous portion sizes, attentive staff and fantastic ambience, with a 3 course dinner and drinks for two costing around about £70, Rocket is extremely reasonable.
I am sure we will return sometime soon.
For more information and booking, visit: www.rocketrestaurants.co.uk
Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary meal at Rocket’s in Bishopsgate for the purposes of this review. But as always all opinions stated are entirely my own.