Hey Team- a few weeks ago I was Gifted the opportunity through Love Pop Up’s London to sample a night out at Two Ruba Tower Bridge- canapes, bottomless prosecco and their new ball pit! Whilst I was invited and given complimentary food and drink- I can guarantee all opinions are my own.
If you’re like me, I’m always looking for a night out that’s not:
- A sweaty night club full of 18 year olds
- A try hard ‘venue’ full of tourists
- A grimy pub full of old men and microwaved burgers
Plus I’m totally guilty of being so afraid of this trifecta that I avoid being the one to pick where we’re going on a night out- my friends can vouch for this! So let me share my experience of the food, ambience and drinks.
Two Ruba is located in the Hilton hotel at Tower bridge- a two minute walk from London bridge station and easy to get to after a day on Southbank. We visited on a Tuesday which is definitely a different experience than a weekend, so think less ready-to-party more ready-to-enjoy-a-fun-night-but-go-home-at-a-reasonable-time. Due to the booking rules they have for the ball pit however, even on their busiest Saturday you won’t be rammed in.
What sets this apart from other bars?
I am a big fan of hotel bars- the drinks are generally good and employees are used to being held to a high standard of customer service. Think about it, if an average bar sucks you’ll leave and maybe give a bad review- probably won’t return. If a hotel bar or restaurant sucks, that affects a guests whole perception of their stay- they’ll choose to stay elsewhere entirely or go out elsewhere which loses the hotel revenue. Hotels rely heavily on reviews and service reputation. Put it this way- if you can find me a bar in London without a bad review for big crowds or slow service (as opposed to hygiene, menu flaws or staff rudeness etc) I’ll be impressed as a night out in the city is almost always crowded. Hotels have so much more accountability internally- so even when a bar or restaurant isn’t the hotel’s own brand- the relationship is still so close in proximity to the hotel that excellent customer service is drilled in.
Two Ruba has two locations in London Hilton’s and is establishing it’s name and building it’s reputation for providing a wonderful evening.
Bars and restaurants in hotels also attract a different group of person than a regular bar. Rarely will you find them full of sloppy drunks celebrating passing their driving test or girls in skimpy dresses upselling jagerbombs. Music is more for ambience, you can have a conversation, and you can line your stomach.
The ambience was five stars for me- quiet enough to hear your conversation but not be overheard, soft lighting, beautiful big windows and cosy booths.
It wasn’t all quiet and soft though as we had the opportunity to visit their wonderful new Ball Pit pop up. I think ball pits are super fun for pop-ups, full of childlike joy, silly, and a fun photo op. I’m a tad suspicious by bars with full time installations as I believe a bars reputation should be based on drinks and service- not gimicks.
My friend Katie is absolutely phobic of ball pits because of what could be at the bottom! Rest assured this one was clean and you could touch the floor and stand up if you want. The ball pit is converted from a seating area so there’s booths all around it if you need a breather. Two Ruba added to the fun by throwing in a GIANT teddy bar- in a cute little tropical shirt- plus some floaties. It’s no secret I can’t wait for the flamingo emoji so being able to have fun on a flamingo float was totally up my street! In addition to floats and toys there was a disco ball and some lights to add a little glamour too.
Bars can only do so much and a ball pit is totally pants if you’re having a boring night or hanging with people bringing you down. Two Ruba cannot supply you cooler friends to make your night fun- but they’ve done everything else to enable a good night!
We were gifted access to the Ball Pit, to visit it otherwise you would pay an additional fee of £15 for an hours access with a minimum of 5 people. I think an hour is plenty of time- but with a bigger group of 10+ you can have it for two hours alongside bottomless drinks.
The ball pit itself isn’t huge and so will have limits on how many people are there at once. It is more expensive than other competing London venues- but Two Ruba is definitely unique in it’s combination of this fun pop-up with it’s more sophisticated vibe throughout the rest of the venue. Plus the Ball Pit is for exclusive booking- this meaning plan your dream party or brunch and spend that time with the people you want- instead of squishing up to some drunk strangers trying to get balls deep. Unless you hire out the venue it’s a lot more challenging- and expensive- to get privacy and exclusivity like that in bars that rely on these sort of pop-ups.
Hello! This is my area to shine in! If there’s one thing I know it’s how to drink! Like a true Brit I can neck it down with the rest of them- though I’d rather drink piss than beer… not that I can tell the difference between them anyway tbh.
Two Ruba brought their A-Game with bottomless drinks. At any given brunch nowadays you can get bottomless prosecco- or hey if you head to a kids restaurant and buy a glass you can get bottomless soft drinks. Two Ruba had a mix of wines- red, white and rosé and prosecco and soft drinks. The waters were ace at keeping the fizz pouring, but honestly I told them to just leave the bottle. I’m always suspicious at super cheap bottomless drinks- whilst I’ve enjoyed a bargain bottle many a time, bottomless prosecco often leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I was super impressed with the quality of bottles we received and everything went down smoothly!
It’s a small but very appreciated detail too that there were jugs of lemon water and glasses laid out. I always ask for water for the table when I’m out and with a big group I definitely appreciated the attention to detail and thought.
For those of you who don’t drink in addition to soft drinks they served up some gorgeous mocktails for those in our group who were enjoying a sober evening. Rest assured you won’t be wasting your money on a bottle of flat coke!
The menu at Two Ruba had my mouth watering- tossed pesto gnocchi, truffle chorizo- all the makings of amazing canapes! They even have a vegan menu with multiple canape options- no more chips or nothing for vegans.
We were a big group of about twenty and here’s what we had served-
Fresh crab with coriander and chilli tostada aka a pimped out tortilla chip! These were yummy though being on a chip made it difficult- I would of loved an extra squeeze of lemon on mine but obviously if a tostada gets too moist it loses all integrity. This was a new snack for me and I’d happily have it again.
Mushroom arancini- I love arancini and grab one from the deli by my work at least once a week. This did not disappoint- and were perfect bite sizes so you could eat whilst mingling.
Sunblushed tomato and cheddar arancini- one of the wonderful women in our group is allergic to mushrooms and so we got to sample another type of arancini too. These were probably my favourites- someone said they thought they were mac n cheese balls- cheesy, yummy and comforting. Give me 20, please!
Beef with salsa verdi and crisp crostini- fancy beef on toast! I’m not the worlds biggest beef fan- like any good Brit if I have roast beef it’s slathered in gravy. The salsa verdi was a yummy unexpected pairing and kept the canape light and with flavour. I haven’t been able to find this on their online menu so this may have been an off-menu treat or something that will join the menu soon!
Italian anti-pasti boards- cured meats, marinated veggies- mushrooms, courgettes, peppers and olives. A little mediterranean themed board that perked us all up. On the menu this is advertised with bread but we didn’t receive the selection so I can pass no judgement!
Vegetarian board- hummus (yes yes yes) crudites and more mediterranean veg. Not the fanciest bar snack but I never turn down hummus and carrot sticks- definitely goes with the youthful feeling of a ball pit enjoying some lunchbox style snacks!
Jackfruit sliders- our chance to try the vegan menu! I love jackfruit because it’s ridiculously versatile so I was super excited to try these. They come with caramelised onion, gherkin relish and cabbage slaw and unfortunately I don’t like cabbage slaw which was all I could taste! It was a shame for me because jackfruit soaks up flavour so well and I didn’t really notice it was there. People who love slaw will love them but it wasn’t my thing.
Lemon brulee with raspberries and popping candy- oh yes baby come to mama! Drinks and dessert I can review with CONFIDENCE. These were amazing- perfectly caramelised top, raspberries offset the lemon beautifully and even with my bias towards anything citrus- I can objectively say these are wonderful. Give me ten. Now. Classy, a little unusual and a fab, refreshing meal end.
Fruit skewers-I love that our menu had such refreshing desserts. I love a sweet treat but hate finishing off a meal with something heavy or cloying. These cute little kebabs were perfectly ripe. Again, I just wanted more!
Pulled chicken sliders- again more cabbage slaw! To be honest I didn’t try these. They came after dessert due to what must have been a mix-up and I was too full to give them a try so it wouldn’t be fair to review.
NOTE- I may not like slaw much but generally speaking I am not a picky eater and have no allergies or requirements- I have in the past however so it was important to me to not how others with more needs were coping. Unfortunately, not well. For a group of twenty we had one person who was gluten intolerant, one who was a vegetarian, and some allergies to mushroom, courgette, caffeine and blue cheese. As we were served canapes there were plenty of times and opportunities to have variety within the dishes. I’m sure you’ll agree for such a big group that isn’t actually many allergies or dietary variances.
Whilst blue cheese was not a problem, the beautiful Victoria of @itsvixs her gluten intolerance (after a long wait) was given… a salad. The rest of us had sliders and crostini so this didn’t seem equal at all. Likewise Ana of Faded Spring was left waiting on confirmation of what she could eat whilst the rest of us chowed down. More frustratingly after being offered the vegetable platter she had to reinforce the danger of her eating cross contaminated food- however after a wait this was resolved.
This was a downer for me- I’m well aware that those with allergies can’t help it and often end up feeling incredibly awkward- whilst just trying to stay healthy. It was a tad disappointing too, I was impressed by their vegan menu and had assumed more consideration across multiple dietary needs. Plus we informed Two Ruba 48 hours before we arrived of the allergies so there’s no way to argue they were blindsided.
Whilst they were not the best in regards to allergens, I was on the whole really impressed with the customer service received- I chatted to several waiters and found them helpful and funny, I even asked about revisiting and booking and was given a card and a name to ask for. I felt heard and that’s half of everything you want from staff.
I will definitely be back when I fancy a nice night out with some amazing canapes. All establishments have areas to work on and so the allergen issue isn’t a dealbreaker for me this time around. The ambience, atmosphere and location were so wonderful and it feels like a hidden gem for a sophisticated drink.
TLDR: lots of booze, yummy food and a ball pit in a classy locations with no a-level students trying to get drunk and grope
Anywho, writing this all up has made me hungry again- if I want to do more food blogging I’ll definitely need snacks whilst I type!