About a month ago a little inconspicuous email dropped into my inbox from Bookatable.com. The sort I normally ignore because to be honest I get quite a few having booked a table once and now getting an email a day. But this one looked like quite an exciting deal. Three courses and a glass of bubbly at Searcys in the Gherkin, or 30 St Mary Axe as it should really be known, a chance to dine in a building I've always been curious about but have never gotten up close and personal with. Plus the ideal treat for my husbands upcoming birthday!
So hastily I made us a lunch reservation and a few Thursdays later we found ourselves hotfooting it up to floor 39 of this funny looking, but really quite architecturally stunning, building in the heart of the City of London.
We were lucky to have a reasonably, if not a little unseasonably grey, day so were in for a treat with some fantastic views of the surrounding landscape and a clear and unhindered view of some of the cities most famous landmarks, old and new.
First to lunch! On arrival the aforementioned glass of champagne arrived within the blink of an eye. Perfect to sip as we took in the view from our table situated right up against the glass and with a clear view of The Shard and the Walkie Talkie Building. We could even make out visitors to the Sky Garden having a wander around and taking in the sights right opposite us.
Lunch was delicate and delightful. Perfect sized portions of very fresh produce and unusual and tasty combinations. My carrot and citrus starter with granola and fennel was a definite stand out starter for me. Something I wouldn't normally choose but I'm really glad that I did. I also got to sample some of Dan's duck dish that was tender and equally delicious.
For main courses we both chose to go with a fish dish (unusual for us meat lovers!) and were very pleased that we did. I tried the sea bream with shrimp and cous cous and Dan the monkfish. Again such subtle and decadent flavours. Quite a special couple of dishes for lunch that's for sure! Beating the usual weekday ham sarnie by a mile.
To finish, dessert, and again I went with a very different choice to my usual chocolate or creamy preference. Coconut parfait with a mango salsa that topped off the experience sweetly but lightly and perfectly. For an additional £5 supplement Dan chose to go with the cheese platter and got to sample some great world cheeses from a very pleasing selection on the trolley. I had a little taste too and can confirm that any cheese lover would be suitably satiated by the variety and choice on offer!
Once our lunch was finished we went for a little exploration around the 38th and 40th floors either side of the restaurant in which we dined.
On the 38th floor you can walk around a viewing gallery, take in the views and get some great pictures of the city around you. Private dining rooms adorn either side of the gallery but a quiet wander around is well worth it for the photographic fun and billions of photos that you can fill up your camera with.
The 40th, and top, floor of the building is currently decked out in the style of a Moroccan Riad. Colourful fabrics, classic moroccan style furniture bedecks and contrasts with the modern interior of the building. Another great spot to take in some views, have a cocktail (or mint tea as we did) eat some mezze and enjoy the uniqueness that is the Gherkin.
In the restaurant on the 39th floor you can currently book a Moroccan influenced 5-course tasting menu if the a la carte menu isn't quite what you're looking for. We saw some people going for this option and it looked very tasty and intriguing!
So our visit to the Gherkin was a very lovely one. We really enjoyed the food, the atmosphere and the brilliant views of the city. I'm glad I snapped up the offer - maybe I won't press delete on my many Bookatable emails so quickly in the future!
Thanks for reading, I hope this has given you some foodie and city ideas and inspiration. Have a lovely weekend and see you on Monday.