Searcys at The Gherkin
30 St Mary Axe, EC3
Fine dining atop everyone’s favourite pickled cucumber, with impressive views over the City through its iconic lattice beams. Retro stripey sun loungers and carts packed with Provencal produce decorate the 40th floor bar in honour of its six-week Summer Riviera pop-up, which also comes with a French menu and cocktail list to match.
On the top three floors, but take ID and be prepared to tackle an obstacle course of sensors and machinery before you reach it. Like its titan cousins the Walkie Talkie and The Shard, security is understandably tight.
Executive chef Barry Tonks started his career at The Dorchester, got some Michelin stars under his belt, opened a restaurant in Nairobi, then came back to London to head up Les Deux Salons before joining Searcys.
The three-course set menu – £45 for lunch, £49 for dinner – is light, fishy and very French. There’s a soupe de poissons, a vegetable take on a mille feuille and enough bread in one sitting to stock a small bakery. Flavoursome highlights include a fantastically garlicky tapanade on the sharing entree, a delightfully crunchy/melty goat’s cheese pithivier and a brilliantly boozy rum baba, cheerily topped with a squirt of Chantilly cream and a raspberry, like a Carry On joke made into a dessert.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?
Both, but the location makes this a particularly impressive setting for a meeting. Splash out on the six course tasting menu and you’re definitely in business.
NEED TO BOOK?
Highly recommended as it’s smaller than you think and hot on security. Lunch service was far from heaving on a Monday lunch time, but it fills up towards the end of the week. Call 020 7071 5025 or visit searcystheclubthegherkin.co.uk.
A surprisingly intimate dining spot for a flashy location and the Summer Riviera theme is tastefully done. Generous portions make this a fun and filling lunch date.
ONE MORE THING…
Every drink on the Riviera cocktail list is concocted with Tanqueray No 10 gin. The lavender-tinged Provence Spritzer was a bit too sharp for our taste, but the Saint Tropez, infused with rose water, is just the ticket.