Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Fenchurch Restaurant at the Sky Garden, London.

Last night Jasiminne and I went to 20 Fenchurch Street (aka, the Walkie Talkie building) to test out their new high-end-high-rise restaurant, Fenchurch Restaurant, on the 37th floor. We'd been looking forward to it for weeks, with the latest London craze of restaurants with incredible views over the city, we wanted to see how the views compared to Heron Tower (Sushisamba and Duck & Waffle) and The Shard. 

Now, I haven't been very well lately. The past few weeks have flashed by in a haze of various antibiotics (the persistent cough that's caused my asthma to get worse has finally gone after four months) and being horribly sick. My body hates antibiotics, absolutely loathes them, and even now I've finished the final course, I'm still feeling the effects (hello constantly-starving-hungry-stomach-cramps). That coupled with a sickness bug means I haven't been out at all since NYE. Yep. It's been tough, I missed five birthday parties and brunches this past weekend, so to say I was excited about finally getting back to normal and eating out again is an understatement.

London Skygarden Fenchurch Street

After going through airport-like security, we zoomed up to the 35th floor of the Walkie Talkie, and entered into what looked like an airport terminal...but with much better views. Straight away the Shard is directly in front of you.

View of the shard from london skygarden

Sadly we couldn't go outside onto the balcony as it was closed - boo. But anyway, we took some snaps and wandered around before walking up the steps, past the garden, to the restaurant. The garden was....underwhelming. Maybe I've been spoiled, but I thought the gardens at Singapore's Changi airport were way more impressive (hello, their airport has a waterfall and a sunflower terrace!). It doesn't feel like you're in a public gardens, it feels as though you're surrounded by lots of plants in a London skyscraper.

view from london skygarden

Fenchurch Skygarden

Fenchurch Seafood and Grill

Anywho, we got to Fenchurch Restaurant on the 37th floor and took our seats overlooking the front of the building. Oh. There's no view here? Nope. No view. The most expensive restaurant in the building and you don't get a view unless you sit on the right hand side of the restaurant. Disappointing or what. We looked at the menus and things started to look more positive. Their cocktail list looked awesome, but the wine list was even more impressive, not only did they have a Hungarian Tokaji wine on the list, they also had a Cape Mentelle Semillon Sauvignon (Aka, one of the best SSB's to come out of Australia).

Fenchurch Seafood and Grill Cape Mentelle wine

I instantly forgot about the cocktails and ordered a glass of Cape Mentelle while we perused the food menu. I ignored my sickly brain telling me to go for the lighter sea bass, and ordered the Loomswood duck breast. Jasiminne ordered two starters to come as mains - the scallops, and the salt-baked heritage beetroot. We chatted and gossiped while we waited for our food, when a gorgeous amuse bouche of venison tartar arrived.

Fenchurch Seafood and Grill venison tartare

It was so good Jasiminne asked to cancel her two starters and have it as a main, sadly they couldn't do that, so they kindly offered to make her an off-menu steak tartar instead. As the starters were on their way, we decided to eat them anyway.

Fenchurch Seafood and Grill scallops

The scallops were beautiful, although not as beautiful as the fresh ones I had at the Crab Shack a few months ago. The beetroot wasn't the best in the world.

Fenchurch Seafood and Grill duck

My duck with chicory tarte tatin was heavenly, tender, and full of flavour, but the portion was absolutely humongous. I could barely finish it all, and naturally I had to save space for pudding.

Jasiminne raved about her steak tartare, but once again the portion was far too big (although maybe our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs when it came to the starters).

Fenchurch Seafood and Grill steak tartare

As we were both so full we opted to share a dessert, the St Clements Posset. In-between mains and pudding a really refreshing palate cleanser arrived, which would actually have made a really delicious dessert! Passionfruit mousse. Oh. my. So so good.

Fenchurch Seafood and Grill st clements posset

The St Clements Posset was delicious, and the perfect ending to what was actually a very decent meal. The food was flawless, but sadly the view was lacking considering the price.

So, would I recommend eating here? Yes. You must go simply for the experience and to try the divine food.

Would I return? No. Probably not. I feel as though I've done it, and in future I'd like to try somewhere else, like City Social or one of the Shard restaurants.

Fenchurch Street Skygarden

The view from Skygarden is pretty spectacular, but it definitely isn't a garden, it doesn't feel like an escape, you very much feel as though you're in an airport terminal or city skyscraper. There's so much steel and glass everywhere. I do really want to visit in the daytime though, I think it might look less 'space-y' in the natural daylight.

If you want to visit the Skygardens in the daytime I think it's quite booked up, but you can always book in to the very reasonably priced Darwin Brasserie on the 36th floor as a good way to see the gardens with queuing. I've also heard the food there is excellent, too!

Have you been to the Skygarden yet? What do you think?

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  1. I was really interested to read your review as I heard the food there wasn't great but I really wanted to go up and see the garden and the view. But it's disappointing that there's no real view from the restaurant...hmmm...Suze gave a good review of Darwin's. I still want to go but maybe it's not top of my list.
    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

    1. Yeh, I was really interested to try it out because of that! I think it's probably best to try Darwin's, I've heard good things about it from a few people. The food at the Seafood & Grill was really good, just overpriced and no view :(

      C x

    2. I agree with Angie - we were going to arrange to go for dinner here, but I heard so many bad reviews we decided it just wasn't worth it in the end! Such a shame they haven't done more with the garden! I would have thought they could really make it quite impressive!

      Although, some of those dishes truly do look delicious!

      Katie <3

  2. WOW this place looks amazing! I would kill to go there, thank you for the beautiful images!

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  7. Hey Catherine, how are you?
    Thank you for sharing this post about seafood & grill in London.
    By the way, I like those food images and the lovely photo of you and your friend.


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