Andy Mossack joins the Sloane Rangers for lunch at the Sloane Club’s roof terrace.
It seems to me that Mayday always lights the touchpaper for London’s Sloane Rangers to throw off their winter overcoats and turn their faces to sunnier pastimes. The leafy lanes of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are suddenly awash with activity once again. After all, there’s the Chelsea Flower Show of course, then Wimbledon, Ascot, and the Derby, so frocks and hats are naturally prerequisite purchases.
Pretty much the perfect storm then for the legendary Sloane Club to re-open its Roof Terrace for the summer, and, here’s the best bit, offer it to non-members for the first time. Well, it is its centenary year after all, so celebrations are in order.
The Sloane Club has been a bastion for women ever since it opened its doors in 1922 as the Service Women’s Club, welcoming only serving and former female officers of the armed forces. Then in the early 60s it became the Helena Club courtesy of Princess Marie Louise, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who named it after her mother and retained its exclusivity to females. Under new owners, in 1976, it became The Sloane Club and membership rules changed to welcome both men and women as it remains today. When hospitality company Queensway bought the club in 2017, it opened a sister property next door, a luxury boutique hotel which is Sloane Place, so now the two siblings co-exist side by side and share facilities when needed. Cue, the Roof terrace at the Sloane.
Naturally, the entrance to the Sloane Club is terribly discreet. A recessed door beside a small nameplate on a Lower Sloane Street Victorian townhouse is the only distinguishing mark you’ll find, so one would be forgiven for walking straight past it without a second glance. However once inside, you’ll find yourself in a parallel universe of quiet sophistication.
I stood in the hallway forlornly searching for a sign to the roof terrace and fortunately a member of the lobby team came to my rescue.
“Looking for the terrace sir?” he whispered.
“I am indeed”
“Up the staircase, turn to your right and through the door.” And just like that, he was gone.
I found the staircase, gorgeously ancient and creaky, and emerged out onto the roof terrace drawn there by sounds of clinking glass and general murmured merriment.
It’s a lovely open space. A wooden deck adorned with garden table furniture and umbrellas with just towering neighbourhood Victoriana for company. Fairy lights abound for a cosy nightfall vibe while a canopy cover could be rolled across for any inclement weather. None of that was necessary today fortunately, as the sun beamed down from a cloudless sky, so the only de rigueur accessories needed were extra-large sunglasses.
The all-day menu ranges from salads and sandwiches to sharing plates and fancier grills, and while we were perusing, our table attendant materialised bearing welcome gifts. “How about some complimentary chilled bubbly to kick off with” she suggested, which seemed an eminently sensible start to proceedings. Then followed some debate between us as to whether to share or stay single as large trays of glorious looking food were triumphantly brought to neighbouring tables.
We wanted starters first though, and some nearly made the cut. A Thai green papaya salad with cashews, lime juice cherry tomatoes, green beans, & chillies (£14) was a contender, as was watermelon & goat’s cheese salad with wild rocket, coriander, chilli and sunflower seeds (£14). In the end Mrs M went for English green asparagus ceviche with a tomato and shallot vinaigrette, wild garlic, shaved radish, and crispy giant corn (£15) which proved to be a fabulous array of Nature’s colours and delicious to boot.
I plumped for the Sloane chopped salad (£14) a similar array of all things natural with just about everything mixed in. Crunchy pepper, avocado, boiled egg, romaine lettuce and a killer dressing.
A glass of chilled Languedoc Picpoul each, capped it all off perfectly.
The mains proved a little more challenging. Jumbo prawns in the shell? (£39), yellow fin tuna steak? (£24) Surrey farm Angus fillet? (£38) Tiger prawn tempura? (£14) or just a selection of bao buns (£7)
Surprisingly, we ended up choosing burgers as an impulse buy, as two trays passed us and we simply couldn’t resist.
I had the Sloane beefburger (£17) (See, I’m keeping everything on brand) with a smoked red onion compote, tomato relish and chilli mayo and a side of truffled parmesan fries (£8). On the other hand, Mrs M was seduced by the native lobster & tiger prawn burger with mango chilly relish and avocado (£27). Glorious comfort food at its decadent best.
By now as more patrons appeared, there were clear signs that some serious shopping had been undertaken that morning from the various bags now on display. Fortunately for them they also had the pick of the sunny tables, as ours were now cast in shadow.
Undeterred we decided to share a dessert. Some fine suggestions included but not limited to (all at £9) elderflower & mint choux with strawberry and rhubarb salad, flourless chocolate brownie (which has become a thing recently) and traditional tiramisu. However, we decided on an iced coconut & white rum mousse with mango lime salad. This was, to all intents and purposes, a cross between panna cotta and a piña colada, and proved just as delicious. A lovely rum kick with some creamy coconut.
The Roof Terrace at the Sloane is an oasis of tranquillity away from the bustle of Sloane Square. You’ll find refined private club luxury and top-notch service here but with no membership required. An absolute gem for lunches, afternoon tea, or early evening dining.
Images: (C) Sloane Club and Andy Mossack
Tell me more about The Roof Terrace at the Sloane
The Roof Terrace at the Sloane, 60 Lower Sloane St, London SW1W 8BP
T: 020 3928 0700 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open midday to 10pm daily. (Last orders 8.45pm) The Roof Terrace will be open between May and September.