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Level 37, 20 Fenchurch Street
Atop the Walkie Talkie building (and a floor above Darwin Brasserie), Fenchurch is a visual treat. Once you’ve made it past the airport-style security and up a lightning-quick lift, you’re greeted by professional, smiley staff and a backdrop of plush grey booths and window-side tables. Chef Daniel Fletcher (ex-The Square) oversees the kitchen, which produces a stream of high-spec European dishes using quality British ingredients. On our visit, we enjoyed a near-perfect, eight-course tasting menu which comes with an array of well-matched wines. Highlights included a light dish of Devon crab heaped on toast, upon a bed of soft-boiled asparagus and peppered with seasonal herbs. We also loved our main, featuring tender cuts of lamb served with crunchy rainbow chard, ewe’s cheese and salsify. While our dessert of hot-and-cold Guanaja chocolate with milk ice cream was perfectly nice, however, it was a bit vanilla (pardon the pun). If you don’t fancy wine, there’s an extensive list of cocktails to choose from, including the delicious Mediterranean Spice: gin, basil, pink peppercorn shrub and crème de cassis. Sky-high dining doesn’t come cheap and Sushisamba and Duck & Waffle both boast better, view-centric layouts, but Fenchurch is still worth the trip for a touch of London luxury.
Level 37, 20 Fenchurch Street
Monument Tube Station 210m
Fenchurch Street Station 298m
The Walkie Talkie 20m
Leadenhall Market 115m
Mon-Sun 11.45am-2.45pm (Sun -3.15pm) 5.45-10.15pm (Sun -8.45pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Our entrance was speedy, straight past the queues of sightseers, up the lift, and out into a loud and lively sky garden floor, complete with Friday night parties and live band. Up two more flights of stairs for drinks on the high level terrace, with time to absorb the swimming-pool style acoustics echoing off the glass roof and walls. Into the restaurant for dinner, and suddenly all was relaxed and calm. A choice of good breads and butter started us off, then the chilled heritage tomato salad with warm peaches was a hit, and my sea trout with chargrilled broccoli was light but packed great flavours. We both had succulent roast cod with creamy seafood risotto topped with crunchy puffed wild rice, a great dish. An interesting wine list that was hard to choose from, we went for a bottle of Rupert & Rothschild Nadine Chardonnay which was so full of flavour. Romantic views through the tree ferns as the sun went down over the river, delicious food, friendly relaxed service and great wine list, makes us feel lucky to live in London.
Food + drink: 4
Tall buildings seem all the rage in London these days and, if you have an iconic landmark, then why not put a restaurant in there too? Too often, however, the complaint can be levelled at such venues that customers just end up paying for the view or the ‘experience’ and the food becomes an after-thought. At Fenchurch though (on level 37 of the ‘Walkie Talkie’), my comrade and I were impressed from beginning to end. This is more than just a good view; it is a restaurant with serious ambitions to deliver high quality food, with a key focus on attention to detail. Even the queuing to enter, about which I had been warned, was not a bother, although having a restaurant reservation does allow you to be fast-tracked past the lengthy line of sightseers. On arrival, via the ear-popping lift, guests get to witness London at its best from amidst an oasis of quasi-tropical greenery. One quick flight of stairs up and through a slightly counter-intuitive doorway, and you arrive at Fenchurch. A sense of calm immediately pervades. Diners are cocooned from the crowds and get to luxuriate in comfy seats coloured a warm yellow, offsetting the muted grey and brown tones elsewhere. Presentation and design throughout were impressive, not just the décor, but also the format/ feel of the menus, the crockery, glassware etc. In terms of food, either an a la carte or a tasting menu are available, with the premise being seasonal British cooking. Although an amuse bouche comprising what was essentially a crisp with dollops of taramasalata bordered on both the absurd and the pretentious, there were no complaints about the remainder of our food. This spanned the range of breads with homemade butter, our starters and mains. For me, the stand-out dish was my main which comprised a beautifully presented loin of venison (done very lightly pink), which was rich and flavoursome, accompanied by pickled red cabbage, pear and juniper. It was close to sublime. We paired the dish (and my colleague’s cod) with a Pinot Noir from Oregon, chosen from an inventive (if not cheap) wine list. The meal also ended on a high with incredibly well-made coffees. Many restaurants seem to consider coffee to be a means to a (literal) end, but here, as with the rest of the meal, clear thought had undoubtedly been given to the blend and strength. A fitting concluding note, and further proof – if it were needed - that Fenchurch has a winning formula.
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