The UK’s capital is becoming quite a mecca for hip new restaurants, especially those perched high on top of some of the City’s new Skyscrapers.
20 Fenchurch Street or the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ building as Londoner’s ‘lovingly’ refer to it as due to its distinctive shape, is an enormous office building in the heart of the Square Mile that opened last year and hasn’t been without its share of controversy but this just seems to make the Brits love it even more. This 525ft building plays home to one of the city’s hottest new dining spots, ‘The Sky Garden’.
The Sky Garden is exactly as it sounds, a garden in the sky. Opened early this year, The Sky Garden, London’s highest rooftop garden, is spread across the top three floors consisting of a destination of high-end eateries and a great communal bar that is a magnet for city types throughout the week.
Between the Sky Pod, Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill you are not short of options when it comes to grabbing a bite after work but the truly stunning views from the 360 observation decks bring a whole new meaning to the term ‘destination dining’.
Firstly, the thing to remember if you don’t have a reservation and you visit at the end of the working week, expect to queue such is the popularity of this venue. If you have a reservation mind you, you are swiftly whisked through security and thrust upwards into the sky via one of the numerous central elevators.
First timers will inadvertently gasp at the majestical sight that greets them on the other side, for visiting at sunset is one of London’s must dos for those that prefer to shy away from the usual tourist traps and prefer to take in the panorama in a more luxurious style. This gourmet garden oasis was designed by renowned landscape architect Gillespies, framing the restaurants on either side. The Sky Pod is a bright, beautiful cafe overlooking the Thames offering fantastic cocktails and bar snacks. Lounge on sofas adorned with faux fur and cashmere blankets and watch the hours whittle away. The best thing about this venue? You can enjoy the outside whilst being inside all year round, watching the seasons change from the loftiness of the sky.
The Darwin Brasserie located on level 36 is a great spot for casual all-day dining with a wide varied menu and one of the best breakfasts to be found in the city. The signature breakfast brûlée consisting of Greek yogurt, granola, berry compote, orange blossom honey and a shot of blueberry smoothie sees health conscious office workers stop by in their droves, cutting business deals as they tuck into the most important meal of the day.
We, having a penchant for the finer things in life opted to dine at the most elevated dining spot in this exciting new venue, Fenchurch Restaurant, nestled high up on level 37. If you don’t mind the vertigo this west-facing venue offers unrivalled views of both the River Thames and Central London with its iconic monuments such as The London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. However, one look at the food menu and the views soon become a secondary priority for this striking venue is the epitome of stylish, both through its masculine interior and its varied, sophisticated menu. A great place to dine a la deux or in groups with a private dining space for up to 16 people making corporate entertainment a focal part of this venue.
The international menu boasts a real variety catering for every palette. The chopped mackerel accompanied by pickled cockles and oyster cream is a real treat to start although you simply cannot visit this restaurant without trying the truffled macaroni cheese which is a dieters worst nightmare but a foodies dream.
The main courses on offer range from meat to fish and the odd vegetarian dish. Opting for Cornish halibut summer vegetable broth, mussels & seaweed I was rather pleasantly surprised that this was not only beautifully presented as you would expect from a restaurant of this calibre but also a hearty portion.
Carnivores rejoice for the Goodwood Estate lamb pink garlic, artichokes, basil & olive jus is a dish you’ll be telling the whole office about. Perfectly cooked succulent lamb nestled on a bed of soft artichokes is a great warming dish for when the temperature starts to drop outside.
If you still have room after all this comfort food then the desert menu is equally as appealing.
I opted for the Glazed peanut & chocolate bar with banana yogurt ice cream being a not-so secret chocolate and my sweet-toothed partner diner quite literally devoured the Passion fruit doughnuts with buttermilk, lemon ice cream & fluffy meringue.
The great thing about Fenchurch Restaurant is that the experience doesn’t have to end after your meal has finished, enjoy a cocktail or two (the Flirtinis were a favourite with us girls) on the cocktail terrace which overlooks the Sky Pod below making for a perfect people-watching platform or perch up at the bar and munch on light bites to extend your meal such as pig’s head croquettes which are the perfect accompaniment to your tipple. It seems that drinking at Fenchurch is just as much a occoputation as the eating, which the population of the City seem rather happy with.
It’s impossible to want to leave the Sky Garden, always finding another excuse to stay an extra half an hour, whether it is a coffee at Sky Pod or another wander around the gardens basking in the ever-changing skyline of this beautiful city. Weave in-between the harmonious shrubbery that thrives under the particular quality of light found under the enormous curved roof canopy, the colourful blooms sprouting out from every corner, a beautiful mix of plants such as the African Lilu (Agapanthus), Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) and fragrant herbs such as Lavender and Rosemary.
The very best thing about this venue is that it is absolutely free for the public to visit the gardens, however tickets must be reserved and access stops at 6pm in the week allowing those only drinking or dining to have full run of this fabulous venue which is then open all the way through to the early hours.
If you’re visiting London, whether for work or pleasure then we thoroughly recommend this new dining spot for both fantastic food and the best views out across the hustle and bustle below.