Darwin Brasserie at Sky Garden

Modern European·

SquareMeal Review of Darwin Brasserie at Sky Garden

Sitting beneath Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill on level 36 of the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ building, this casual and bright new venture has the better views of London thanks to its position further back from the Sky Garden’s dramatic atrium roof. The ethos behind the entire building is purportedly environmental friendliness, which may explain why the brasserie is named after Darwin – although a menu that includes the (increasingly resurgent) Knickerbocker Glory doesn’t suggest evolution. The list of straightforward European dishes includes a superbly balanced shallot tarte Tatin with a silky scoop of goats’ cheese. British beef, pork or lamb might follow, or a generously filled, rich venison pie accompanied by jewel-like, piquant mustard fruits. Staff are clued up and experienced, but now that skyscraper dining is no longer a novelty in London, the Darwin needs to boost the quality of its menu if it’s to become the natural selection of high-rise fans. Live music and DJ nights on Fridays and Saturdays, from 6pm and 9pm respectively. Saturday breakfasts popular too.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Modern European
Lively, Unique
Food Occasions
Brunch, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Great views
Special Features
Chef’s table, Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Food Hygiene Rating


Darwin Brasserie has an enviable location on the 36th floor of the ‘Walkie Talkie’, situated at the Sky Garden on Fenchurch Street. The restaurant offers panoramic views over the Thames, as punters find themselves immersed within nature. The brasserie is surrounded by an impressive garden replete with livings walls and exotic flora. The stunning background of greenery plus the view make for a wonderful backdrop to the Darwin Brasserie.

The restaurant is on a perch over the garden, encased in glass, offering respite from below and an air of exclusivity for patrons to dine above the hubbub. The interior is sleek with modern fittings and understated décor, to allow the food and view to shine.

The all-day dining menu features the best of British, made from seasonal, fresh ingredients. The restaurant does themed menus, and set menus, in addition to the regular a la carte which features the likes of roasted seabream with braised fennel and a tarragon sauce or more rustic, hearty mains of roasted root vegetable shepherd’s pie. The entire menu feels like a fresh take on classic British food. For dessert, the chocolate and caramel tart is complemented by a blood orange sorbet, while the vegan pecan pie is a great option for plant-based punters.

The brasserie also host a Chef’s table in the centre of the restaurant, which can seat up to 20 guests, as you let the chef take over the menu and prepare an exclusive dinner.

The Darwin Brasserie, ideally located in the city, is a great option for punters looking for a classy meal with sky-high views, and exciting food to match. Whether you’re booking a meal for a sophisticated date or looking to impress loved ones with a lovely experience dining above the Sky Garden, the brasserie is a beautiful choice. Plus there are also capacities for private dining for corporate events or celebrations.


Level 36, 20 Fenchurch Street, Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 3BY

0203 8197 7726 0203 8197 7726


Opening Times

All day
Mon 07:30-21:30
Tue 08:00-22:30
Wed 08:00-22:30
Thu 08:00-22:30
Fri 08:00-22:30
Sat 08:00-22:30
Sun 07:30-21:30


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10 Reviews 


17 August 2023  
Food & Drink 0.5
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 1
Value 0.5

Rachel Icebox

08 July 2019  
Atmosphere, view, ambience all great.


02 July 2019  
Great food in an upmarket brasserie with excellent views.

Ramachandran S

02 July 2019  
Very poor treatment

As a person holidaying in London, I visited this restaurant on advice from friends. I had an appointment at 10 AM on 27 May and on reaching the restaurant at the specified time was asked o wait. After waiting for half an hour and they had forgotten me until  I had to remind them that they were yet to seat me. Having asked to wait so that they give me a seat with a good view, they showed me 2 seats that were totally unacceptable to us. Only on letting them know that we preferred to walk away rather than sit in the seats offered by them, did they seat us appropriately.

While waiting I noticed the way the restaurant manager was greeting and interacting with other customers and made me feel that they preferred and welcomed only regulars.

Overall a very bad experience

I am writing this pretty late as I just returned to India after my holiday.

Paul M

19 May 2017  
The whole package. Incredible food, delicious cocktails and fantastic staff!

Ella S

04 May 2017  
Shard views for a fraction of the price and unrivalled service'. Not only is the food outstanding here, the service is truly commendable and is what makes this venue so special. Whenever I have international friends visiting London I always take them to Sky Garden.

Alex G

17 November 2016  
Food & Drink 2
Service 2
Atmosphere 2
Value 2
Case for extinction?
Darwinian is the perfect metaphor for the London dining scene. Given the attractions of the city, the diversity of options available and the pounds in consumers’ wallets (a lot more, post-Brexit, for foreign visitors), only the best should survive. Even if you are lucky enough to have your restaurant located in a prime tourist spot, this should in no way guarantee survival. And, it is certainly hard to make the case for the – in this case perhaps ironically named – Darwin restaurant, nestled atop the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building. What is all the more disappointing is that while its sister restaurant in the building (Fenchurch) is a sublime experience oozing class from beginning to end, Darwin was if not quite the antithesis of this, then at least fairly close. Three criticisms spring to mind: service, food and acoustics. A failure on one of these counts might be forgivable; on all three, certainly not. First up, my comrade and I were shown to a table in the middle of the restaurant, sans view – which, of course, is one of the primary reasons for coming here. When questioning this, we were told that the tables with views had been ‘reserved for other guests.’ Since when was there a hierarchy in this respect? Moreover, the utter lack of contrition or attempt to accommodate grated at the outset. Perhaps as a way of atoning, the staff did show subsequent attention to our table, but when this becomes irritating rather than ingratiating, then there is a clear problem. How, for example, could I be expected to assess the quality of my starter after barely one mouthful? Not easy, but it didn’t stop our server enquiring somewhat forcefully and interrupting our conversation. Onto the food and a browse down the list says not cheap (a beetroot salad starter at £12, really?) and not really boundary-pushing (calling fish and chips a ‘crispy plaice fillet’ doesn’t disguise what it really is). Our starters of Dorset crab salad and maple cured trout were both adequate, but the main was a serious let-down. The roast Cladecott chicken with borlotti beans and girolles was a study in monotony, both visually and from a gustatory perspective. Furthermore, with but two girolles per person (in what was actually quite a large dish) borders almost on trades-description failure. Finally, if all of the above were not bad enough, then the fact I struggled often to hear what my comrade was saying owing to the poor acoustics meant I almost had to question why I had come in the first place. Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered.

Patrick B

08 May 2016  
Food & Drink 1
Service 3
Atmosphere 1
Value 1
Truly Terrible
The whole operation surrounding SkyGarden is best to be avoided. From the rules-laden booking process to the minute details of the space, offering and atmosphere the whole thing is best avoided, especially considering the other great "high altitude" options in London. On our visit there was a huge queue to even get upstairs, admittedly a seperate one for people with dinner reservations, but the problem is maximum capacity which means that if the upstairs space is at capacity no-one is allwoed up. On a private visit this was bad enough but with clients it would simply not be possible. It also indicates the mish-mash they have managed to have with the bar/brasserie/fine dining three-tier "concept" or rather mess. Once upstairs the view is good, but the space is extremely strange and due to the curve of the Walkie-Talkie ceiling feels much lower than, the Heron Tower or the Shard (even at Oblix-level). Having followed reservation's and ground level "rules" there are more at the SkyPod bar. Diners around us had the bad idea of bringing drinks they had bought at the bar to the brasserie and while I didn't follow the details this caused a major management melt-down. Both upstairs restaurants have very basic problems before we get to the lacklustre food. A positive word here, in contrast to the bar and security staff, the dining-room staff are very friendly and trying their best often with a shrug of their shoulders indicating that they are all too aware of the limitations and problems they have to operate with. At brasserie "Darwin" level, the view is OK, but the table layout awkward and the acoustics nothing short of laughable. You cannot hear the waiters and poor them must be suffering from chronical hearing problems, this is compounded by (drained-out) ambient music. So if you have a client whom you don't want to talk to this is a hot tip. The food might acutally go on finish them off compeltely. That is they or you can find anything edible on the extremely "lean" menu. The SkyGarden itself is quite underwhelming also having different levels and then not much at all at the north side. Oh, apart from health and safety notices of course... Errr... Avoid.

Andrew V

22 December 2015  
Food & Drink 4
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 2.5
Apart from the view.... disappointing
The view is totally brilliant - and the food is really nice, but the service is appalling. We booked a table for 1pm and only got seated at 1.30 (no apology) - then they are all over you in a fake manor whilst you're spending. Once you want to pay.... forget it - gloves are off and they just ignore you for as long as they can and then are plain rude. Would not go again because of this which is a shame as it is a great venue.

Brentwood Bird

26 August 2015  
Food & Drink 3
Service 3
Atmosphere 3
Value 3
Bit of a let down.....
After the dizzy heights of the Sky Pod bar, we headed off to the Darwin Brasserie, just one floor above but it felt like a lot of stairs to get there. The initial impression was not great; the Brasserie feels cramped and dark after the airy expanse of the bar, and with the whole area set back from the external windows of the building, the views are not as good as from the bar. Tables are rammed in and it felt a lot different from the publicity photos posted on its website. The menu was exactly as listed on the website with no daily specials which was a bit of a shame as I can't say the menu had imbued me with great expectations. Three of us went for fish and chips, which was ok but nothing special and our fourth opted for lamb rump, which turned out to be a very small dish given the price tag of £25. Service was ok but the overall experience was just a bit of a let down, given the surroundings. Personally I'd rather stump up the extra funding and head off to City Social when I want food as spectacular as the view.................
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0203 8197 7726 0203 8197 7726

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