The Gherkin's Taking Your Poached Eggs On Toast To Towering New Heights
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Searcys at the Gherkin isn't London's loftiest restaurant, pipped to the post by Duck & Waffle — you can read our rundown (and ranking criteria) of London's highest eateries here. However, this is a visit that shoots the Gherkin right to the top of our favourite tall London buildings list.
That's largely down to the view, which isn't solely a question of height. At Searcys at the Gherkin you're cocooned in the peak of a glass-and-girder egg — so unlike most of London's skyscrapers, you have a panorama that stretches upwards to show the sky as well as the city spread below. Even on a grey afternoon, as it is on our visit, the restaurant's flooded with light and we eat with birds wheeling around several storeys underneath us.
So the space itself is lovely. And the new champagne brunch menu, a four course behemoth? As it happens, it's surprisingly good, not least because it could get away with being far less so. London's skyscrapers host a mixed bag of restaurants, plenty of them trusting to their views to distract from some pretty indifferent food.
That's not happening here, though it's true the brunch menu doesn't come cheap. But the £55 a head gets you some pretty sprawling bang for your buck, much of it good-to-great.
The opening gambit's a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rich — a champagne 'dedicated to mixology' that sounds sweeter and less appealing than it actually turns out to be. Served on ice and spiked with grapefruit, it takes on a cool, citrusy tang. A basket of mini pastries, breads and jams are good enough that they vanish in seconds. The small meat board we start with packs a startling but excellent heat and richness into its small, dainty pats of 'nduja-like sausage and fierce piccalilli.
We're less blown away by a poached egg served on baked butter beans and sourdough. The toast's just too heavily toasted to absorb any of the yolk-rich, tomatoey sauce — or even to cut through easily. And while every element of the smoked salmon on seeded, pesto-spread bread is great separately, the salmon gets shouted out by the punch of pesto and nutty grittiness of the seeds. Our Eggs Benedict, though, is a solid classic, as is the Eton Mess we finish with.
With plenty more hits than misses on the food front here, Searcys at the Gherkin's brunch menu might not be quite as dazzling as its setting — but it's not far off.
Sky High brunch at the Gherkin runs from 11am-3pm on Sundays till 10 June. A four course menu with glass of Veuve Clicquot is £55 a person. Reservations are required. Searcys at the Gherkin, 39th floor, 30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP.
Last Updated 26 April 2018