Futurists, Cyberpunks and future oriented gourmands seeking culinary fulfilment within the ivory tower. Appreciators of unusual use of space and modernist architecture, mashed up with D&M’s signature style
Bishopsgate people looking for a relatively secluded spot for a drink/meal/both within an area that is anything but secluded. Maybe people who were originally going to go to Duck And Waffle but got afraid of the prices at the last minute (understandable)
In A Word
Go to new places, meet new people…
The Drift lives inside the Heron Tower, home to the infamous (though I do not know if this is the correct word) Sushi Samba and Duck & Waffle combo – who are many floors up. The Drift’s on the bottom floor, but still boasts some exciting views.
To actually get there, you need to go past the tower’s front entrance and enter via the side. If you did not know it were here, you’d probably not run into it. I wonder if this is part of The Drift’s plan, or if it was a planning oversight?
The view from the entrance is a pretty awe inspiring one. The ceiling feels like it’s half a mile from the floor and the wall behind the bar seems to rise up to infinity. The area that the Drift inhabits is a futuristic glass and metal shell, though with Drake & Morgan’s handiwork all over the interior. I can’t work out the theme here. There’s a nautilus shell (golden ratio yes?) on the logo, but nothing that says ‘seaside’ or ‘ocean’. Maybe it doesn’t have to mean anything.
Along with Drake & Morgan’s signature crazy decor there’s also the signature open kitchen (doesn’t everyone love open kitchens? You can watch them make your dinner and everything!). The venue itself is split between two levels. The restaurant area is perched upstairs, whereas the bar area is downstairs and greets you at the entrance. Ascend the stairs and you’re suddenly hit with the realisation that this place is a lot bigger than you think it is.
So, this is Bishopsgate – which is one of the most futuristic, cyberpunk spots in this part of London (think towering glass and concrete everywhere you look and the place bathed in an almost wan arylide glow when the sun goes down). So they don’t have to try all that hard on nailing the ambiance.
As ever staff wear a getup and demeanour which takes the sting out of any formality you may have subconsciously projected onto the place. The uniform is…uniform (huehueuhe) bracers and trainers. This along with all the artfully arranged and unexplainable trinkets (can I say ‘crazy golf decor?’) keeps stuff feeling not too serious.
We’re seated in the middle of the restaurant area – and the chef sends some sea bass as an amuse bouche on spec. Well played, Mr./Mrs. chef. -It is delicious and this is a first. It is super creamy scrambled egg sitting beneath a fish delish surface. A low carb delight (but we’re OK with carbs here). I don’t know if this one is on the menu or not…
Music is at a somewhat lower volume than some of the places you might end up – actually it’s at the perfect volume, loud enough to be noticeable (so above ‘romantic restaurant’ noise level) but not too loud as to hinder the chatting of nonsense/important serious business to your dining/drinking companions (important).
Like all Drake & Morgan properties, it’s some kind of probably-electronic music that often strays into dance and that I don’t recognise a single track from. Like a playlist of tracks custom designed by my ex’s sister or something.
D&M’s food is pretty much consistent across each venue, though the daily specials change and the menu is extensive enough that you’re not about to ‘run out’ of things to eat any time soon. I’ve never had a bad meal here and The Drift turns out to be no exception. Adding cress to stuff as a garnish seems to be a theme here…
This is however one of the strangest meals I’ve had in a while. I’m dining with my buddy Chingiz who is attacked with powerful nausea soon after we sit down. Ever had a restaurant meal with a guy who spends the entire evening on the verge of throwing up? Yeah I don’t really know how to deal with it either…
This puts the evening on a bit of a downer – and so we decide to forego The Drift’s sexy wine menu in favour of freshly squeezed orange juice and still water with lemon in it. Healthy healthy. Chingiz doesn’t throw up in the end but I end up having to eat some of his food to make it look like we’re not rejecting the chef’s delightful handiwork.
At this point I’m glad that I’m sober because this much food combined with drink are a recipe for gastrointestinal disaster on a grand scale, right? Ugh.
Food comes FAST here. Almost too fast, but better sooner than later, right?
Skillet Of Prawns
Skillet of prawns is a bit like a rich stir fry – though more buttery. The prawns here are done to just beneath crunchy. It comes with super dry, very spicy flatbread – I don’t like bread but I give it a go. I don’t know if this is my ignorance of bready things or if they’ve created something quite different, but it’s unlike any bread I have ever eaten. Not a fan but it’s fine to be surprised.
Peking Duck Flatbread
Legendary sauce which is very sweet, but has somehow avoided the cloying sweetness’ that you get with a lot of Chinese sauces.
Californian Hot Smoked Salmon Salad
Oak smoked salmon taste with lots of vegetables that make you feel good about yourself. Splendid dehydrated/sundried tomatoes interspersed within. The pine nuts are creamier than normal. Incredibly filling.
Lobster & Burger
I like going to Bishopsgate because once the sun’s gone down I can walk around the area listening to the Blade Runner / Tiberian Sun soundtrack pretending that I live in the future. This is usually better when you’re a little bit inebriated. With that in mind I’d like to come back here and try the bar instead of the restaurant.
One thing I would like to know is who is responsible for the branding behind The Drift and D&M’s various properties. I would surmise that they have a very fascinating mind.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
0845 468 0103