Just as well Fenchurch at Sky Garden is in the so-called walkie talkie building on London’s Fenchurch Street as security needed walkie talkies to manage the flow of people waiting to get up to the 35th floor.
“it seems we have reached capacity sir so you’ll need to wait a few minutes.”
Clearly, the top heavy skyscraper was a little too top heavy for us at that moment.
Fortunately, it was only a minor delay as a crowd of people came tumbling out of the ground floor elevator and moments later we were on our way skywards.
The top floor button brought us out on to the Sky Garden; a vast indoor greenhouse interspersed with various bar areas and 360 degrees of floor to ceiling windows. Joining a line of eager garden goers at the Sky Garden desk brought a new directive to another elevator for the final two floor journey to Fenchurch at Sky Garden.
With such a heavenly perch, the view across London was quite frankly jaw dropping, I felt I had just completed a lengthy pilgrimage and arrived at the promised land such was the relief of finally falling into the welcoming embrace of my banquette table. It all got much better of course, as a chilled glass of Veuve Cliquot magically appeared in my hand and waiter Edward explained I was having wine pairings with my meal.
Fenchurch at Sky Garden is all about celebrating fresh seasonal British sourced ingredients and head chef Zak Whittle does Britain proud.
An amuse-bouche of sea bream with garlic, shallots and harissa was a tempting foray into Whittle’s bag of tricks and went down well with the aforementioned champagne just as the sun was setting across London. And I had a pretty spectacular front row seat.
My companion’s starter of smoked Lincolnshire eel with cucumber, horseradish and kohlrabi (£14.50) proved to be an instant hit, as was my duck egg with roasted pearl barley, lardo and thyme (£13.50). Sommelier Stephanie’s enthusiastic endorsement of our choices prompted her to give us a crisp South African Sutherland Viognier& Roussanne which was so good I was sad to see it go.
My companion’s Dover sole with a scallop and shrimp mousse, capers, samphire and mussel cream (£38) all blended perfectly well particularly with Stephanie’s Chenin blanc. I picked Iberico pork with peas, potato terrine and wild mushroom (£28) which was cooked perfectly pink and worked surprisingly well with a Hungarian red, Bock Cabernet Franc.
By now night had fallen and the lights of London far below offered us a new palette to gaze at while we waited for dessert.
The wait was worth it; an expensive but simply mouth watering barbecued banana with chocolate, toffee and vanilla ice cream (£13.50) and my raspberry soufflé with a whiskey and oat ice cream (£13.50) which was pure theatre as Edward spooned half the ice cream into the middle of the soufflé.
Excellent fare then, and if my other diners were to be believed (most of them city types it has to be said) the feeling seemed mutual.
We finished with coffee out on the indoor terrace,(that does sound a bit weird but that’s what an indoor garden can do to you) and watched the Sky Garden crowd mingling two floors below.
Fenchurch at Sky Garden comes over as perhaps more of a business dining venue with its price point, sit-at sea food bar and leather banquettes. But the London city views and food quality and being that much closer to heaven of course, makes it all worthwhile.
Even if you have to go on a pilgrimage to get there.
All images except featured image (c) Andy Mossack
Tell me more about Fenchurch at Sky Garden
Fenchurch at Sky Garden
1 Sky Garden Walk
Tel: 0333 772 0020
Open: Lunch: Mon to Sat: 11:45am-2:45pm, Sun 11:45am-3:15pm
Dinner: Mon to Sat: 5:45pm-10:15pm, Sun: 5:45pm – 8:45pm.