Last month I spent a lovely couple of days with my Mum who came up to stay in London for a few nights. As well as taking her around Spitalfields Market (a must for any London visitor), indulging in some spa treatments and watching The Commitments (excellent feel good musical fun) we also went to visit the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch street- something that had been on my “to do” list since it opened in December.
Situated atop of the infamous Walkie Talkie building in the City, The Sky Garden is free to access providing you’ve booked a time slot online in advance. From the entrance (which is round the corner of the main way into the building) you’re taken up in a lift to the 35th floor where you arrive into an open plan bar/general viewing area.
The views are wonderful and made even better because they’re free. You can even look straight across at the people up The Shard who have paid £25 for what I can only imagine is a pretty similar vista. The garden aspect of the whole experience is what really makes it though; huge plants and beautiful flowers fill the areas adjacent to the stairways and for a couple of hours you forget you’re in the centre of a polluted city and can just enjoy the real (albeit slightly manipulated) “fresh” air.
There are several dining options available for those so inclined and we had booked in to have lunch at their Darwin Brasserie which is on the 36th Floor. Our table wasn’t quite ready when we arrived which obviously called for a cocktail while we waited. The cocktails were pricey/typical London at around £11-13 each but I can certainly say that The Gypsy, a gin and elderflower concoction, was worth it. Just look at the adorable edible flowers.
The cocktails were further made enjoyable by the fact they turned out to be free. Our supposed short wait for a pre booked table soon turned into a 25 minute one so the gesture of complimentary drinks was very much appreciated.
After both drinking the same cocktail we then both opted for the tuna nicoise salad because our tastes appear to be one and the same. We also ordered triple cooked chips because you could just tell they were going to be the triple cooked chips dreams are made of and there’s nothing better than maintaining a balanced diet. The food was actually very reasonably priced (except the starters that bizarrely seemed the cost the same as a main meal) and once it arrived it was excellent. Perfectly cooked tuna steak with all the trimmings. Except the olives. Due to a mixup in kitchen the integral olive element of the nicoise had been sadly left behind, destined never to see the light beyond the kitchen fridge doors. However upon notification this was soon rectified by bringing a whole pot of olives to the table instead. As the duty manager explained they were still have teething problems but we had no complaints as the issues we encountered were all effectively dealt with…and the salad really was amazing.
I’m already looking forward to returning to the Darwin Brasserie and sampling more of their menu whilst taking in the views. I imagine it would be a lovely place to reside as the sun sets over London.
And maybe stop for a cocktail or two while you’re at it.