It’s no secret that London House has one of the best rooftop bars in Chicago, thanks to its stunning views of downtown and excellent cocktails. But did you know their food is just as impressive as the view?
LH on 21 versus LH on 22 and 23
First things first: the bar commonly known as “London House” is actually two different bars on three levels. LH on 22 & 23 collectively make up the rooftop bar, with 22 being the main level and 23 being the private cupola. They’re entirely outside so they’re only open seasonally when it’s weather-permitting.
LH on 21 is the indoor bar, a cozier but just as easy-on-the-eyes space that’s open year-round (although without the view). The menus are the same on all levels for both drinks and food, but the hours vary slightly between the levels. (More on that below.)
London House: Go for the views, stay for the food
London House Libations
The drink menu is a bit deceiving on first glance. The cocktail list is on the small side, the beer list is limited to a handful of basics, and the wine list is extensive but somewhat expensive. But after tasting my way through some of the cocktails, I realized the familiar drinks are executed really well, making the little-ish list more than ok. Case in point: the LH French 75 ($15) is the first French 75 I actually enjoyed and the Old Fashioned ($16) has perfected the balance between bourbon, bitters, maple syrup and scotch.
London House Food
On the food front, London House serves upscale classics with creative twists, taking familiar favorites and making them –well– better. Take the Truffle Fries ($23) for example. Duck-fat truffle fries are elevated with a layer of black truffle shavings and topped with a pitcher of foie gras sauce. Talk about an upgrade!
The dishes range in size from bar snacks to full entrees. The small-plates mentality shines here; a perfect idea for a place known for its cocktails. Order one plate if you’re a tiny bit hungry, order all of them if you’re starving.
Like the cocktail menu, the food changes seasonally with the exception of a few famous staples like truffle fries and tartare (even though the tartare evolves too). Last fall the tartare was a stunning smoked salmon served under a dome of smoke that was so good we ordered two. (Here’s to hoping the salmon tartare is resurrected this winter!) This summer it’s a Bison Tartare ($23) with smoked tomato and aerated egg, served with perfectly toasted cassava flour.
Two things I noticed about everything I’ve eaten at London House: one, every dish has enough flavor and creativity to stand alone (even the side dishes); and two, the dishes are incredibly photogenic. And why shouldn’t they be? Everyone on the roof was snapping pictures of the view, so why not make the food just as instagrammable?
Case in point for instagrammable food: Journey of the Deviled Egg ($20), a trio of colorful detailed deviled eggs like none you’ve ever seen (or tasted). The eggs are named after countries: the American (spring pea, butterfly pea blossom, ham and paddlefish), the Russian (creme fraiche, black tea, charcoal and osetra) and the Chinese (hibiscus, orange tobiko and orange).
The Tartine Flight ($18) is equally photogenic. Pick three miniature bread-based bites from six options. We went with the nduja cheese bread with goat cheese, the squash crostini with black olive, and the most adorable lobster roll I’ve ever eaten. (Don’t worry, a regular-size lobster roll is available too!)
Familiar with a twist
Even the Grilled Asparagus ($16) wasn’t spared from the mundane. What was ordered as an attempt for healthiness became one of my favorite dishes: grilled asparagus with lemon jam (can I get a jar of this please?!) with asparagus foam and truffle parmesan.
As for the large entrees, rumor has it that the Green Circle Chicken ($28) with ramp pesto and the Japanese wagyu ($65) with fermented plums are both outstanding. I’ll be back to try both of those!
Thoughts on London House
The views at London House are still the star of the show, but don’t overlook the food menu. You’re bound to be impressed!
Go to London House for :: stunning views and impressive food. Notes :: LH on 21 (indoor bar) is open year-round for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch Monday – Friday, 6am – 2am; Saturday 7am – 3am; and Sunday 7am – 2am. LH 22 (outdoor rooftop bar) is open Monday – Sunday 11am – 12am, weather permitting. Limited reservations are available (minimum 4 people) by calling 312-253-2317.
Disclaimer :: I was graciously invited to London House as a guest of Wagstaff Worldwide. As always, all opinions are my own.