‘Dinner with a view’ doesn’t do this restaurant in the sky justice
There aren’t many restaurants where you’re scanned for dangerous materials at the door. Then again, there aren’t many on the 37th floor of one of London’s tallest skyscrapers. Sitting atop 20 Fenchurch – or the Walkie Talkie, to most people – and above the building’s ‘Sky Garden’ panoramic bar-cum-viewing platform, Fenchurch Restaurant would have almost unparalleled views of the City were it not for the girders and palm trees blocking the way for half of the venue. Luckily, my guest and I landed a great vantage point (when booking, ask for a view of St Paul’s).
In comparison to other sky-high restaurants, Fenchurch is a smaller affair, which actually serves to enhance the personal experience. While it would be easy to rest on your lofty laurels and provide service as an afterthought, here the staff are eager to connect with diners, asking them about their favourite meals and then making suggestions. I started with scallops and orange chutney; my guest had the smoked eel. While the scallops themselves were delicious, the orange chutney was a little on the strange side. The eel was an unexpected hit, setting up the mains nicely.
We went meaty for our next course, with veal and beef shin respectively. Both were masterfully prepared, and cooked exactly to order – although I could have done with a little more of the veal.
As many wallets will attest, it’s a pretty expensive night spent at the top of the Walkie Talkie
The dessert was the highlight of the evening. I chose the bahibé 45 per cent milk chocolate bar with salted popcorn ice cream. No worries about portion size here: chocolate mousse atop a chocolate sponge atop a crumbling chocolate biscuit base, all smothered in – you guessed it – chocolate, was almost too much even for my typically Scottish sweet tooth. I also, somewhat indulgently, went for the recommended dessert wine, a 2014 Bertani Recioto della Valpolicella, an Italian wine where the grapes are dried for 150 days on traditional cane mats before fermentation. It was worth the wait: the cherry-chocolate wine paired beautifully with the cocoa behemoth I’d ordered.
As many wallets will attest, it’s a pretty expensive night spent at the top of the Walkie Talkie. Of course, you’re paying for the experience as much as anything else, and the atmosphere and quality of cooking are high-end. I’d make a joke about being on cloud nine after the meal, but that would be overdoing it, right?