It was an hour and a half before I could collect my tickets for Singing in the Rain, and with the Royal Academy of Art closed I had to find other ways to spend the early evening. I was drawn into Waterstones and wound up browsing the cooking and eating section on the ground floor. If it was a deliberate marketing technique, then colour me impressed, because I spotted a conveniently placed sign advertising their restaurant and bar on the 5th floor soon after the munchies hit.
Note first that whatever they tell you about spectacular views over the city are all lies, unless you count multiple cranes up close as a sight not to be missed. The place itself was packed with tourists, couples and the odd lone book reader, and being spread over two sections, it took them about 5 minutes to comb through the entire premises to find me a spot at the main dining area. The tables are packed ridiculously close to each other, and I found myself gingerly moving along the narrow aisles for fear of bumping into strangers.
Almost as if to make up for my wait, service afterwards was extremely prompt and friendly. I'd only wanted a light snack since there was food waiting for me at home, but it was apparently half-price off cocktails day. After assuring me that it was great value, my waiter recommended the Raspberry Bella, a mix of pureed raspberries with gin and topped with prosecco. It came looking like a big glass of raspberry lemonade, but packed a decent amount of gin. As drinks went it was unassuming and girly but quite pleasant.
In contrast, the pancakes I had were rather listless things, tasting overly savoury and slightly singed. The lemon wedge accompanying the two paper thin slices was rather wilted and didn't give much juice. Sugar was sprinkled with a rather miserly hand as well, I was sorry to see. But it did fill me up somewhat, which was all I was expecting anyway.
Thankfully, after the pancakes were done I still had most of a pretty decent cocktail to nurse while reading my paper and basking in the gentle hubbub. Not a complete waste then.