Dining in London can either be a real treat or a real let down. Whether I’m splashing out on a meal for six or dining on a deal for two, one thing is for sure, ambiance, the view and the service is key. Well, the company and the food come a close second too. Now I’m no Giles Coren (an amazing food critic who I loved to read during my time at Sunday Times Style) but I know mostly where to go for good food and I know where to avoid like the plague (a certain chain near Embankment where I had food poisoning – twice!). It goes without saying that I certainly know where to find good wine, obviously.
Yesterday I found myself out of my comfort zone when a friend suggested lunch at Darwin Brasserie (aka level 36 inside the Walkie Talkie building for us Londoner’s). Overlooking the Thames situated at Sky Garden is Darwin; an all-day brasserie inspired by the very best of British. Seasonal, home-grown ingredients take centre stage in the kitchen and the exhaustive drinks menu will keep you engrossed for about 15 minutes. The cocktails looked amazing but this was a celebration… so Moet was the drink of choice.
In the lift on the way up, I couldn’t help but think of NYC’s Rockafella – friendly staff and the experience is a bit of a novelty. On heading in, I was pleased to find a laid back/luxe setting with lots and lots of greenery. Anywhere where they operate a smart/casual dress code for evening bookings with no beachwear, sportswear, or flip flops gets a yes from me.
The breathtaking view is a must see for any tourist, local or business luncher and while we chatted and sipped champagne, we admired life passing by outside. The menu is simple yet varied with dishes on offer such as traditional fish and chips, roast chicken and risotto. I was thrilled to see red pepper and goats cheese ravioli (with a side of chips to share as we are total pigs) so naturally ten minutes later it arrived at the table. *Note, this picture does not do it justice!
If planning on visiting Darwin, expect great service, knowledgable staff and zero stuffiness. We were sat amongst an elderly couple, a group of Chinese tourists, a family of three with a young baby and a couple on the next table were on their first date. This is what I love about London, the diverse culture and hope all around. My advice would be to book a table – (call or email) and due to location (20 Fenchurch Street) you’ll need to set aside a good chunk of time to enjoy yourself.
Have you been to Darwin? Have you vistited the Sky Garden? Comments below.