London Lantern

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Top London Chefs and Restaurateurs - Oliver Smith

21/08/2004, By

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 22085 votes

Oliver Smith has been head chef at Babylon, at The Roof Gardens, since October 2003. Set 100 ft above Kensington High Street, Babylon is famous for its breathtaking views, overlooking one and a half acres of tropical gardens and London’s skyline. Smith’s simple and quality dishes reflect the unique design and surroundings of Babylon, offering interrupted dining of an exceptional standard.

Oliver, who trained in the West Country at South Devon Technical College in Torquay, has had an extensive culinary career, starting only ten years ago as a junior sous chef de partie at Quaglino's, a 2 AA Rosette and Michelin Red M restaurant, owned by Conran Restaurants, but four years spent there under three different head chefs helped to develop his skills.

Other previous posts include sous chef at Coq D’Argent, senior sous chef at People’s Palace and, prior to his appointment at Babylon, as head chef at Bank restaurant in Aldwych.

Inspired by quality, fresh and seasonal ingredients and using the knowledge and skills he has developed over the years, Smith’s approach to all his menus is innovative and creative.

He comments: “It is important to remember that flavours and seasons change and at Babylon we are constantly adapting our menu to introduce seasonal ingredients, allowing us to serve only the very best from Babylon’s kitchen.”

Typical starters on Babylon’s current à la carte menu include tataki of seared kangaroo loin served with pickled wild mushroom, walnut and parsley salad and honey and rosemary dressing; sautéed scallops on a herb and pancetta salad with roasted pear, truffle and chorizo foam; and baked red pepper and goats’ cheese tart served with sunblushed tomato and rocket salad.

Seasonal main courses feature miso glazed tuna served with crab and wasabi mash, pickled cucumber, diakon and ginger salad; fillet of beef served with stilton potato cake, tomato and red onion jam and pepper sauce; and butternut squash tart tatin served with tomatoes, mozzarella and toasted pumpkin seed oil.

Divine puddings include chilled three-plum and sauternes soup served with white port baba; pineapple carpaccio and balsamic ice cream; and lavender and almond flan served with honey tuille.

Babylon is open for lunch: 12pm – 4pm Monday to Friday and dinner: 7pm – 11.15pm Monday to Saturday.

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