Atop the unfinished concrete hulk of what will one day be a John Lewis car park, a curious collaboration has been brought to life. The Australian retail mega-corp Westfield has teamed up with Bethnal Green based gastronomists Bistroteque and a committee of cultural ‘leaders’ to transform the 9th floor deck into Studio East, an amazing venue with a unique Olympic vantage. We previewed it a few days ago, but such an unusual venue deserves a review.
The £75 cover charge may well put off many, but we can only reassure you that it is more than possible to drink £75 worth of cocktails and then consider the food a delightful bonus. The drinks were sponsored by a Tequila company, so mostly tequila based, but all good fun - particularly a coffee, tequila and orange combo that tasted like you were eating the all leftover Quality Street at once (this is a good thing). We also can’t compliment the staff enough - some of the friendliest service we have ever enjoyed in London.
Seated on long communal tables a constant stream of food and drink emerged from somewhere unseen keeping the mixt of Bistroteque regulars, fashionable young things and Olympic geeks fed and socially lubricated. This was our favourite part of the evening, a rare moment where a bunch of strangers are sufficiently at ease, suitably tipsy, and enjoying the shared experience to discard the usual London social mores. People were freely sharing Olympic facts, pointing out the new buildings this vantage of London reveals and comparing notes on how on earth they were all getting back home.
It’s the view you are really here for, and it is stunning. London’s Olympic park is really shaping up nicely, and beyond Canary Wharf and the City slowly light up as the sun set over the trees of Victoria Park.
If there was one criticism amongst those gathered it was that the food was ‘a bit wedding’ - however we found that rather charming and appropriate. The whole event was very much like a reception celebrating the union of two of our best friends, London and the Olympics. We wish them many happy years together.
* Some practical notes for you if you do go - it gets chilly in the pavilion later so take something warm, it’s a fashionable crowd so dress up and ladies should be warned there is a fair amount of walking involved - so no stupid shoes.