No. 20 Fenchurch Street: the address of London’s fifth tallest building and the world’s largest walkie talkie… or at least it’s supposed to look like one… hence the nickname. Residing at the top of this stunning skyscraper is (in my opinion) the most spectacular view of London you will ever see while eating food – sue me Shard!
If you do make it pass the airport style security at the entrance – please, please, PLEASE take the elevator to floor 36 and dine lavishly in the Darwin Brasserie.
Why? Well for the seasonal British cuisine with home grown ingredients, along with a beautiful bar serving some classy cocktails by some savvy waiters – don’t worry if the choice here doesn’t appeal to you, there’s two more bars downstairs!
Did I mention the view? Good. Make sure you grab a seat near the window as this lofty view is breath-taking, though the toll is even higher as the meals here are certainly not cheap. However with great prices comes great gastronomy… well not always, but let’s see if the Darwin lived up to its expected standards below!
For starters, we had the beef carpaccio and buffalo mozzarella, the mozzarella had a very fresh and seasonal taste coming from the aubergines, tomato and courgette pesto bringing a light savour to the mild blocks of mozzarella. Meanwhile, the beef carpaccio is making waves on palettes with its light yet distinctive taste of slithered beef working beautifully with the slightly oiled truffle mascarpone, definitely the victor of the two starters.
Looking around while eating, you notice that the dress code is not as formal as you may predict. The code is in fact smart casual which relaxes things a bit here, after all the working class are allowed to feel rich now and again! I certainly did!
Back to the food and our mains involved a hefty and handmade cheeseburger, fish and chips and a side of parmesan and truffle fries. The cheeseburger definitely packed the size and ingredients of a well-made burger, its only lack being salt. The fish and chips again had the look and taste of gourmet with well-cooked chips and a very satisfying beer battered pollock, the tartare sauce an added bonus being one of the best sauces in the world (again in my opinion)! I really liked the curried peas, creating a sweeter and uniquely nourishing flavour that really should be a more common side dish in restaurants. The truffle and parmesan fries again cooked to high standard, with its crisp and unctuously cheesy taste, so good it gave me more reason to come back again.
The experience was truly lovely and unique, I rate the Darwin more for its ambience over the food but we were still very much satisfied and would return in the future for a special occasion. When done eating, I strongly recommend you visit the Sky Garden downstairs to explore the beauty of the indoor surroundings and city lights, then chill on a sofa or window seat and marvel at the beauty of London.
Whether it looks better at night or day, I’ll let you decide!