The weather last Sunday may have been cloudy and overcast but the views from the 28th floor of the Millbank Tower were astounding. We arrived at 12pm and were shown to our table for brunch. But this was no ordinary brunch; this was Gospel at Altitude 360.
As I stared out at the London skyline, picking out recognisable buildings and areas, we were taken by surprise as three gospel singers clad in long red gowns approached our table and started singing. Not normally one for audience participation (I’d rather be invisible); I was silently panicking as I saw them approach, having just watched two tables nearby enjoying a soulful rendition of Happy Birthday. But worries of embarrassment soon diminished and I felt very welcomed by the soft and joyful tones. We were asked if we had any requests. Sister Act immediately popped into my head as I had spent a lazy evening over the Christmas period watching it and I sent them away with a request to sing a song from the film (as I’m sure had many others around me).
But back to the menu. I wouldn’t so much call it a brunch as a full on lunch. Starters consist of a huge bread basket featuring brown sugar cornbread, pumpkin bread, brioche and rosemary and raisin bread and there are a wide range of mains to choose from, including French toast, grilled aubergines and portobello mushroom with mozzarella, spatchcock chicken, all of which are followed by a choice of five puddings. We opted for the layered grilled tuna and avocado with courgette, roasted tomato and onion rings and BBQ chicken with black beans, yellow rice and Napa slaw. After we had placed our order, the BBQ ribs with chilli and rosemary parmentier potatoes were highly recommended to us. I would never normally choose ribs off any menu, partly because a huge slab of meat on a plate can make me feel slightly uneasy but as they had been highly recommended, I had to see what all the fuss was about.
The first dishes that we ordered arrived first, a mere ten minutes after we had placed the order. The tuna steak was thin and more overcooked than I would have liked – I usually pan fry mine for a matter of seconds. I have learned the hard way in the past that even when you take a tuna steak off the heat, it continues to cook for a few seconds longer. It was served with grilled tomatoes and courgette, which were wise additions. My boyfriend and I always adopt a 50/50 approach to dining out – we order different dishes and share. I usually clock fellow diners rolling their eyes as we swap plates mid way through but this is just the way we do it. And why not? We get to taste much more of the menu this way. And I was especially glad of our approach at the gospel brunch because I much preferred the BBQ Chicken dish. The chicken was tender and sticky and the creamy pot of Napa slaw was a delight. Delicious.
A few bites in, the most gigantic plate of ribs arrived at the table. The overflowing bread board had to be moved onto the table next to us to allow space for the monster. Mouth watering, I took my knife and fork and pulled the most tender meat away from the bone at ease, which was covered in a rich, sticky sauce. As I bit into it, I cursed myself for never ordering ribs. Having already devoured one main meal each, we hastily kept going back to the plate full of ribs in the middle of the table until all that remained was a pile of bones. Wow. They were seriously good.
Not deterred by the amount of food already consumed, we chose two desserts off the bottom of the menu. And for once every single one appealed to me. Was I to go for the New York Cheesecake, or the Mississippi mud pie perhaps? Or maybe it was to be the key lime pie. But no, my sweet tooth was begging me to go for the peanut butter brownie, whilst my boyfriend chose the waffle as he thought it would be the lightest option. He was probably right.
They arrived and in front of my sat a dense, fudgy, sweet, nutty square of brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream and a smoothing of chocolate sauce. In front of my boyfriend sat a large, round waffle doused in fruit puree, crushed nuts and berries, again with a dollop of ice cream on top. I would have preferred the waffle to have come without the puree or berries, or the menu to have at least mentioned the accompaniments as I would have perhaps ordered something different but I could not fault the chocolate brownie. A layer of thick, dense sweet brownie was topped by light brown layer of peanut butter and crushed peanuts. Definitely one to recreate at home!
As we ate, we enjoyed the fantastic tones of the London Community Gospel Choir who stood to the side of the room. As the singing was in full swing, diners were seen singing along, swaying in their seats and a couple even went up to participate in one particular song. We left Altitude 360 that afternoon full of comforting food, the soulful tones ringing in our ears and beaming smiles on our faces.
Gospel Brunch at Altitude 360 costs £45 per person.
Food For Think was a guest at Gospel Brunch.