DARWIN @ SKY GARDEN

A couple of days ago I visited Darwin Brasserie, located on the 35th floor of the “walkie talkie” building in the City for lunch.

As you can tell from my previous blog posts I have a penchant for restaurants with a view and this one has been on my list for a while.

Unfortunately, upon arrival we were not greeted with the warmest welcome! We were herded in like cattle through the security checks (completely agree that these are needed but the organisation is atrocious!) and one of the bouncers barged into me with no apology – not the most relaxing start to my afternoon!

Once we arrived at Darwin the atmosphere and service changed for the better – thankfully! The hostess was very pleasant and we were seated at an excellent table with clear riverside views across the London Bridge area.

Our waitress was helpful and attentive, suggesting various dishes and highlighting the the day’s specials. I must admit I had a cheeky look at the menu before visiting so I was already pretty set on what I wanted to order.

Now for the good bit, culinary visuals!

Starter (shared) – Salt Beef salad; really tasty and a great sized starter!

Main – Lamb; my boyfriend had this dish (I obviously had a taste!) – he said it was really well cooked and, again, a decent sized portion.

Main – My main course – Sweet Potato Gnocchi; I have to say I was slightly disappointed when this arrived as it was SO much smaller than my boyfriend’s meal – luckily the pasta was very filling and turned out to be just the right amount.

Dessert (shared) – Pistachio Cake; this was delicious! Slightly out of the ordinary with a quirky presentation it was a real treat – the toasted marshmallow bits were absolutely gorgeous!

 

Lunch complete = TO THE BAR…!

I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and drinks here and appreciated the fact that for an upmarket venue it was not pretentious or snobby. I would highly recommend the cocktail bar for after work drinks! As for the bill, with all the above food, a bottle of prosecco and service charge this came to a total of £115; a pricey lunch for 2 but there are options to suit all budgets – if you are looking to enjoy the view and sample some more affordable food head towards the bar area where you will find a cafe serving sandwiches, cakes and other delights!

Darwin Brasserie – speedy summary:

Grub for your gravy ***

Calibre of cuisine ****

Vibrant vibes ***

Top treatment ** (perhaps slightly harsh but taking into account the full experience from start to finish – i.e. the horrendous entrance) 

Diva direction – Politely request a window seat when booking and definitely sample the cocktail menu!   

Advertisements

DUCK & WAFFLE 

On a very rainy and cold August night – YES; AUGUST – I left work very excited to try Duck & Waffle for the first time (following a booking made THREE MONTHS ago – this is imperative if you don’t want to be tucking into your evening meal at midnight).

I had visited Sushi Samba last year which was impressive so I had high hopes for its Heron Tower buddy.

Before heading to the restaurant we stopped by Canto Corvino near Liverpool Street station to take advantage of the happy hour cocktails (2 for 1, 5-8pm, Monday – Saturday). They were delicious and we will definitely be heading back for a meal at some point!

Following pre-dinner beverages we battled the rain and arrived at Heron Tower to be greeted by a friendly doorman who sent us on our way to the 40th floor! We were shown to our table straight away and to our delight we had a fantastic window seat (perk of being a party of 2!) with incredible views across Shoreditch and beyond! Despite the weather we could still see for miles.

Our waiter was extremely attentive and our drinks arrived quickly. As we were celebrating our anniversary we pushed the boat out with a bottle of champagne which we sipped whilst perusing the menu. The staff were on hand to explain the dining style and offer recommendations. We were advised that the dishes are best suited as sharing plates so we ordered a selection of snacks and small plates then one “for the table” main to share.

Prepare for food envy. Here we go…

For our ‘snack’ we order BBQ pig ears – they looked like fries and were tasty and moreish! Thankfully they don’t scrimp on portions.

Our small plates were as follows:

Glazed lamb breast salad (unfortunately didn’t manage to get a snap before demolishing it!)

Yellowfin tuna

Foie gras creme brulee

Spicy ox cheek doughnut

Every plate was fantastic but my favourite small plate was the lamb (closely followed by the tuna – I can’t possibly pick just one fave!)

For our main we ordered the duck & waffle; of course! The signature dish did not disappoint – in fact it was the highlight for me, the combination is incredible!

The only slight criticism I have was that the small plates were brought out rather rapidly which encouraged us to eat faster and subsequently become too full for dessert! Although – I would prefer that to waiting hours for one course so I don’t want to dwell on that too much.

All in all the evening was outstanding – one more place ticked off the London restaurant bucket list!

The food is reasonably priced considering the location and hype around the venue; our food amounted to approximately £80 (let’s not add on the champers price here…!)

Duck & Waffle – speedy summary:

Grub for your gravy ****

Calibre of cuisine ****

Vibrant vibes ****

Top treatment ***

Diva direction – Book WAY in advance to avoid disappointment or head there for brunch which seems to have more reservation flexibility.