Our guide to the best places to eat during office hours in the City.
WHAT? In the Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie-Talkie there’s a café, a fine-dining restaurant and this: a mid-to-high end eatery selling all the things we’ve come to expect from places with the word “brasserie” in the name: posh fish and chips, posh burgers and posh steak, plus condiments in ramekins.
WHERE? The central atrium of the massive top floor of the Walkie-Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street to give it its proper name). Even if you hate the building there’s no denying the views once you’re inside.
WHO? All the restaurants in the building are owned by Rhubarb, the south west London caterer-turned-restaurant group. If that sounds depressingly corporate, it isn’t: staff are attentive and warm and the food is lovingly prepared.
ORDER THIS... I had a steak, which was perfect: juicy, rare, slightly charred around the edge. Pork belly, ordered by my dining partner, was even better. Best of all, though, was the knickerbocker glory I had to finish: massive glass and masses of pistachio ice cream amounted to infantile bliss.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? The website says “laid back but luxe” and that’s pretty much bang on. The vibe is relaxed – nobody will look twice if you order a pint of beer – but it isn’t loud and would make a perfect setting for a serious business meeting.
NEED TO BOOK? Yes, if only to beat the massive queue of tourists (if you’ve booked a table, you head straight up).
THE VERDICT... Hundreds of restaurants in London serve more or less the same food to more or less the same standard as the Darwin Brasserie. Really, though, who goes to the top of the Walkie-Talkie for the food? I’d happily pay £50 for a McChicken Sandwich if I could scoff it while watching the sun set over London from 34 storeys up.
ONE MORE THING... While a restaurant booking entitles you to skip the queue on the way up, beware queues on the way down. I had to wait 15 minutes – worth thinking about if you’ve got to hurry back to the office.
THE DETAILS: Darwin Brasserie costs approx £50 per head for two courses including drinks. To book a table, call 0333 772 0020, or visit skygarden.london/darwin.