August 19, 2016

Fine Dining Goes Sky High at Searcys, the Gherkin

             After my university’s graduation ceremony, my parents whisked me away to a restaurant that they, unbeknownst to me, had booked. It was only when we turned a corner and I saw the skyscraper formally known as 30 St. Mary Axe looming over us that I twigged: “Are we going to eat at the Gherkin?!” Literally and figuratively high in the sky, we dined at Searcys, situated on the 39th floor.


             The Gherkin, designed by Lord Norman Foster, has become an iconic part of London’s skyline since it opened in 2004. It stands at 180 meters tall, which gives high tea a whole new altitude of meaning. Chef Barry Tonks and his team concoct seasonal menus at Searcys to serve European dishes presented so beautifully that they momentarily detract your attention away from the unparalleled views of London.

Lamb rump / parsley / girolle mushroom / peas / wilted lettuce with a side of potato gratin
Beef fillet / braised shin / grelot onions / carrots / garlic cream

Vegetable risotto
Chocolate moelleux / almond milk sorbet

Eton mess
Tea and chocolate truffles 
             We were lucky enough to receive window seats, but these unfortunately can’t be booked in advance. Rather, they are offered on a first come, first serve basis. The restaurant seats 70 people, which makes the gastronomic experience a pleasant and exclusive one, as opposed to a crowded and raucous one (as is often the scene at up-and-coming venues). It’s less snap-happy tourists pressed against the glass and more business professionals grabbing lunch and a few drinks. The City workers must hardly bat an eye at the landscape anymore, but I find that for me, even after four years of living in London, it still hasn’t lost its shine.

             The highest floor is the 40th, where the Sky Bar is encased by the Gherkin’s dome glass roof. The hatched exterior of the building streams in light for a breathtaking 360-degree, panoramic view of London – to be enjoyed with champagne, wine, or a cocktail in hand, of course.

             Searcys restaurant and the Sky Bar are typically reserved for tenants and members of the Gherkin. However, open nights for the public and pop-up and ticketed events are held throughout the year, while the space can also be hired for special occasions.

             This is especially good news for us at the moment, because the Gherkin’s 40th floor is a Summer Sky Riviera that anyone can visit until September 2nd. The restaurant is serving a Provençal menu and the bar has teamed up with Tanqueray No. TEN for a conversion involving olive trees, lavender plants, sun loungers, a French market area and “pool,” and lots of gin.


             For availabilities, prices, and to find out more about what’s on at the Gherkin, including a partnership with Laurent-Perrier Champagne in October and an opportunity to throw the best Christmas party ever (if you’re thinking that far ahead already), visit the Gherkin's website here. For bookings, email searcysreception@searcys.co.uk or phone 020 7071 5025.

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