After spending a good twenty minutes checking how close the new Farringdon home is from my favourite London spots, I thought it would be apt to go to one with H (Old Street – 1.0 miles, 20 mins Google maps walking, just in case you wondered). We went to the Rotary Bar & Diner on City Road, a newly opened temporary-ish place from the people behind Redhook and Giant Robot in Clerkenwell (part of the Rushmore group that also own Milk & Honey and The Player among others).
It will be there for 10 months or so (the entire block is then being re-developed), and open until late 6 days a week. It’s been done out with a retro 70s formica décor (including lots of orange and a mountain-scape mural), with nice wines, slightly scary sounding pint-sized cocktails, and food from their chef partner Carl Clarke (currently at Disco Bistro at the Rising Sun in St Paul's).
The menu includes snacks, buns (chicken, pollock and spicy crab, beef and veggie), wood-grilled fish, steak and pig, with BBQ offerings coming soon (their smoker is apparently in transit). We started with buttermilk fried chicken wings (£5), that were crispy outside and tender within, and great with the tangy hot sauce (we went with the lovely waiter's recommendation). We also had hot smoked salmon (£5) from the snacks section, piled on top linseed crackers with cream cheese and wild garlic.
I then popped next door to get us some delicious Yum Buns. Yum Bun have been going for a while with their street food offering of Asian steamed buns, and have now set up next to the Rotary. You can buy them to take away from the little shop, or can walk through to the bar to eat them (it’s the perfect way to have them - street food is not so fun in freezing temperatures).
There are 4 different filling options – chicken, mushroom, pork and beef. We went for one pork (tender roasted belly with hoi sin, cucumber and spring onion,) and one beef (sticky slow-braised ox cheek with coriander and peanuts). Both were fantastic, and it’s only £6 for two.
H and I finished with a rich salted milk chocolate pot with salt-caramel peanut sprinkles (£5) from the Rotary’s menu (there are also choc-ices from the tasty Sorbitum ices, with flavours including tempting bourbon caramel and sour cherry).
The Rotary and its Yum Bun collaboration is a great idea, and it’s just a shame that it’s only there until the end of the year.