REVIEW: The Magic Roundabout – a grown-up winter wonderland in Old Street Station





The clocks have gone back, the days are drawing in – from here on in, the days will grow inexorably shorter, darker and colder.. I’m not being the harbinger of doom here people, far from it. I’m just saying that resistance is futile and it’s time to embrace winter in all its glory; and the folks at The Magic Roundabout in Old Street have been hard at work creating a fabulous festive space for us to do just that.

We were recently invited down to the launch of their brand new Winter Series – frankly, they had us at “accessed by a secret staircase in the tube station”. Having located said entrance, what ensued was a rather Narnia-esque experience as we were transported from the everyday hustle and bustle of Old Street station into a magical world – several, in fact; a dance floor (the only TFL approved one in London, don’t you know) flows seamlessly into a myriad of cosy, imaginatively decorated watering holes and eateries.

At the back you’ll find the psychedelic Far Out Forest, a bar festooned with enormous trippy multicoloured mushrooms and glow-in-the-dark butterflies – we felt inexplicably at home here for some reason; but in the interest of research, moved on to try out the Bassano Lodge – a warm and cosy bar decorated as an Old World style hunting lodge where we enjoyed a couple of seasonal hot toddies.

Feeling that any more drinking on empty stomachs would be foolish, we moved on to explore the food options – street food fans are in for an absolute treat here with delicious offerings served up by Burger Bear, White Men Can’t Jerk and Dirty Vegan. My Jerk Halloumi Bun was a thing of beauty, toasted brioche with jerked halloumi (a divine clash of cultures), peppers, jerk mayo and sauce with salad for a bit of crunch and freshness – I’m converted. My companion went for a Grizzly Bear burger from Burger Bear and judging by the look of bliss on his face as he silently scoffed his way through the cheeseburger with double oak smoked bacon, it was a good choice.

Stomachs thoroughly sated, we headed to The Pagoda, a Chinese-inspired bar overlooking the dance floor where you can watch the DJs spinning their records from inside the dragon’s jaws.

And the icing on the cake? When we were finally ready to head home, it was a mere few steps straight back down to the tube – we didn’t even need to put our coats on.

The Magic Roundabout Winter Series runs until the end of March 2017.

Written by Saga Lynd