The Darwin Brasserie has been on my restaurant wishlist for absolutely ages. Luckily, my best friend Laura booked a table for us as part of my 26th birthday celebrations. The Sky Garden at Fenchurch Street is so unique: combining the feel of an open-air park indoors with a couple of restaurants, a bar and a viewing platform. Whatever your reason to visit, you can be guaranteed stunning views of London and it’s so much better at night. Due to the weather, we couldn’t go out on the platform, but I imagine it would be amazing in summer – if a little busy.
Just as a side note, there are queues to get in and you will have to declare your handbag and go through a metal detector – but once you’re in the lift shooting to the 35th floor, it’s all worth it! We could have enjoyed a drink at the Sky Pod bar, but instead made our way up the steps and through the indoor jungle to the restaurant.
We had an excellent table near the front of the restaurant, with views across London and all that was going on underneath us. Our waitress explained the specials for the evening – including their cocktail on offer – while passing us the menus. I began with their signature cocktail, while Laura selected the wine for the evening. We both decided we would skip starters and go straight into the main course... who would choose a starter over dessert anyway?
Despite both opting for the steak – an 8oz rib eye, served with wild mushrooms and red wine jus – we sipped a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Side dishes come separately and we went all out, ordering two portions of triple-cooked chips, the steamed spinach and broccoli with almonds (random, but it worked). I had my steak rare and it was perfect! As everyone knows, I love my steak blue, but I rarely choose rib eye, so wasn’t sure how much extra cooking would need. The chips were incredible: so fluffy on the outside but crisp and well-seasoned on the outside. They were proper hand-cut as well and tasted like potato! Who’d have thought chips would?! Spinach is my new favourite side to accompany a steak and this was much better than any creamed spinach I’d ever had, largely because it wasn’t so heavy, but still filling. I didn’t try any of Laura’s broccoli, but she enjoyed that too. The portion sizes are generous, so sharing sides comes recommended.
For dessert, there was only one option for me and that was the chestnut cake. It was almost like a mini muffin: well presented and so cute. It came with ice cream and cinder toffee and I polished it off in no time at all. While I was stuffing my face, our waitress came over with my birthday slate – a chocolate brownie square complete with candle and that fancy icing writing. Because I’d ordered dessert, I think she thought it was Laura’s birthday and apparently looked confused when she starting singing to me. By that point, I could barely move, so had the tiniest corner of the brownie which was very rich and dense. Laura ate most of it, which was good as it’s her favourite dessert.
The restaurant was predominantly full of couples and it’s the perfect location for a date night – but also good for groups of friends of families celebrating an occasion. I would love to go back, even for drinks – and maybe next time, I’ll get to eat at the Fenchurch Restaurant.
Love, Lucy xx