A rooftop al fresco restaurant is the dream on a warm summer night, and definitely not something you expect to experience on Oxford Street in London City centre. However, that’s exactly what you can find on the rooftop of Selfridges – Alto by San Carlo.
You access the restaurant through a dedicated lift in the beauty department on the ground floor. There is a greeter who checks your reservation and radios up to the restaurant to let them know you arriving.
You are then met with more foliage and a bench (the image at the top) and a tunnel to walk through to get to the restaurant. It’s all super pretty and definitely a photo opportunity.
We had looked at the menu in advance and were shocked by how reasonable the prices were (£8.95 for a lasagne), however, when we arrived the waiter explained to us that the restaurant has a venetian tapas feel and they recommend you order 2-3 dishes each. We opted to order 5 dishes between the 3 of us: lasagne, risotto, salt crusted sea bass, fries and garden peas with onion and bacon.
The views whilst we were waiting were spectacular, the sun was beginning to set, there were loads of flowers around to look at and it was super intimate so people watching was good too. However, we did not experience good service. We each ordered a drink, however, 2 of 3 came and it took 10-15mins and asking twice for the third drink to arrive. We waited quite a while to order our food, even though others around us were served promptly. Then when our food did arrive, it was not in any sensible order. I understand tapas is generally brought out as quickly as it is prepared, however, we got the lasagne then 10minutes later when that was all gone, we got a bowl of risotto. Again, once the plate was cleared the sea bass arrived. It ended up that we had eaten the three mains individually, then finished with a bowl of fries and a bowl of peas. We did seem to be the only table in the restaurant that was served in this manner but it was very frustrating.
The experience, taste and price were great. However, the service did tarnish our time there. Still, I would go back and hope for better service next time!