THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN – The Sky Garden Brasserie

After fighting our way through airport-style security and ascending  a 36 storey lift, we arrived at the beautiful Sky Garden in the heart of the City. Although mid August, there was a heavy layer of cloud over London, but this didn’t tamper with the splendour of the 360 degree views of London with which we were met on arrival.

We had booked a table at the Darwin Brasserie for my 21st Birthday celebration, one of two eateries in the establishment, the other being the Fenchurch Restaurant which is considerably pricier and the more formal of the two. There is also a bar on the main level which is apparently frequented by city workers after hours. We arrived half an hour early for our 12.30 booking, which gave us ample time to wander around the beautiful two storey garden and take in the views from the balcony on the south facing side.

The décor of the Darwin Brasserie is modern and stylish, with a laid-back feel and a menu priced to match. For the location and the quality of the view from the table, the food is very reasonably priced. The attention to detail is extraordinary, a number of days before the event we called ahead to warn them of a member of our party who had difficulty eating certain things; to which they helpfully responded and made a special dish of the day.

The menu is simple but vibrant, offering starters ranging from Steak Tartare and Oysters to a deliciously simple Gazpacho and Tomato Salad. Depending on your tolerance to garlic, however, I would be careful ordering the Gazpacho! Recommended by the excellent and attentive staff, I had the Tuna Nicoise Salad for my main, which was perfectly presented and the fish exquisitely cooked. There was an array of other simple mains, including a perfectly textured Courgette and Basil Risotto and then some more hearty traditional options such as Fillet Steak and Fish and Chips (which we did not order but looked divine on neighbouring tables).

To satisfy the sweet toothed among the party there was a mouthwatering selection. I had the Crème Brûlée, which is a simple desert, but it was done to perfection with a hard exterior and deliciously creamy underlayer.

We had a fantastic day and the staff were attentive and friendly without being overbearing, especially to the older members of our party. With some of the best views available, and food to match, the Darwin Brasserie at the Sky Garden is a must in London!

More information on Sky Garden Brasserie here.

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, George Vaughan-Barratt.

Sunday Brunch at Darwin, Sky Garden

sky garden 1sky garden 2

Affectionately known as the Walkie Talkie, 20 Fenchurch Street was completed in late 2014 and the three storey Sky Garden opened in early 2015. This public space is popular with tourists and locals, offering 360 degree uninterrupted views across the city. The Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden and even has an open air terrace for enjoying in the summer heat.

Darwin is an all-day brasserie located on Level 36 with a menu inspired by the very best of British. The kitchen is operated by event caterer Rhubarb who offer a range of tempting dishes using seasonal, home-grown ingredients. On a sunny Sunday morning we visited the impressive building to try the all-day Sunday brunch. After the rigorous security check we zoomed up in the lift to reach the upper floors, a bright arena filled with lush foliage and flowers.

sky garden 3sky garden 4sky garden 5

For £38 per person guests are invited to indulge in the buffet, choose one hot dish and enjoy the milkshake bar and unlimited bloody mary station. The sumptuous buffet table was laid with fresh juice, pastries, fruit, delicatessen items (cheese, meat, salmon), salad and bread. The sweet side features waffles, doughnuts, french toast, cheesecake and miniature crème brulees. Head chef Arnaud Delannay must be extremely busy on Sundays, the restaurant was full with hungry guests and the buffet table seems to magically refill within moments.

With the clouds peering in through the windowed walls and the tiny display of London life happening far down below us it felt very special dining at this height. Overwhelmed with the buffet choice I tried to serve myself modest portions, but it all looked and smelt so good. The fresh and summery asparagus, pea and crumbly goat’s cheese salad was my favourite, lightly seasoned and cooked to perfection. Also tasty were the platter of meats, the heritage tomato salad and the creamy British cheeses. I could have just eaten from this lovely selection but we had mains to come.

Hot dishes on offer include traditional brunch options such as Eggs Benedict, Full English and Pancakes but we decided to go decadent and order one of the Sunday lunch choices. I had Roast Spatchcocked Poussin with watercress and my guest opted for Roast Rib of Beef with Yorkshire pudding and traditional garnish. The plates were delivered promptly and looked divine. I needed extra gravy but aside from that the dishes were faultless, brilliantly cooked meat, with a crispy skin and accompanied by roast potatoes and vegetables. I thought the Roast Beef was a little chewy but the flavour was good.

sky garden 6sky garden 7sky garden 8

We picked at a few of the dessert treats before retiring downstairs to admire the view of our beautiful city.

More information on Darwin’s Sunday brunch and book a table here.