Brunch. The fanciest of fancy-ness. There is something a little indulgent about having brunch, especially when it is accompanied by beautifully chilled glasses of champagne! Well, we were that fancy last weekend when we headed up to the 39th floor of the iconic Gherkin to try the Searcys Sunday brunch in the Helix restaurant. Now, Sunday brunch at The Gherkin comprises of four courses, so a little advice, turn up hungry! Read on my beauties, let me tell you the good, (and sadly, but in honesty) a little bad….
Sunday Brunch at The Gherkin
Our boys had kindly purchased us a voucher for the brunch for Christmas, but with everything going on in Nik’s treatment we just haven’t had time to go. Plus, Nik felt that the boys would also like to go, so we bought them a voucher, (£90 for two people) so we could all go together. (you can see details of how to purchase here) When I phoned up to book it was like all the planets had aligned, as they told me they had a cancelation for Fathers day! It is worth noting here that we would have been waiting until October if the cancelation had not come up, so if you do decide to go, get your date booked as soon as you can!
As I mentioned, the brunch is located in the Searcys restaurant, on the 39th floor of the Gherkin. The Searcys group, established in 1847, pride themselves on creating memorable experiences for people, and the locations that they partner with, certainly quantify that reputation. The Gherkin has beautiful views, and there is something amazing about having that beautiful view of London as you eat. (My experience at The Shard with the Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea offers another amazing meal with a view if you too are a sucker for a view) Half of the experience of going to these kinds of venue is the view isn’t it, and this is where one of my teeny tiny gripes comes in.
We were told when we booked that we couldn’t request a table by the window. That is fair enough, and I totally understood. However, when we were seated, it was not a great table. It was the furthest table row away from the window, (although there is only 4 rows) and right where people came in and out. A table by the window emptied about 5 minutes after we were seated, and I asked if we could move. We were told no as people was coming in “very soon” I didn’t understand how it would make a difference if we moved, if tables were not allowed to be requested. Our disappointing table was certainly not the end of the world, and it didn’t spoil it for us, but we really were looking forward to having a view in a restaurant that is famed for its views!
Anyway, moving on to something waaaaay more positive, the food. It was amazing and the vegan menu was fantastic! The brunch is four courses, starting with pastries and breads, served warm and with the richest fruity, jams. I had vegan croissants, which I was so excited about as I love croissants, and have not had the pleasure of one since I switched to a vegan diet! Although the waitress originally forgot to bring over my vegan ones and we had to ask a couple of times, (my second tiny gripe), they were well worth waiting for as they were AMAZING! Warm, with a layer of jam throughout the middle of them, I was in heaven! Gorgeous, and with the crisp, chilled glass of champagne we were served, it was a beautiful introduction to the brunch.
The next three courses you choose from selection on the brunch menu. There is about four choices in each course. My sons both opted for the meat board, Nik chose the Caesar salad and I decided to go with crushed avocado on sourdough bread.
The meat board had a selection of English cured meats, including a spicy meatball that had a bit of bite! Nik’s salad was crisp and fresh with a generous amount of anchovies and my avo on toast was amazing. It had a zesty kick to it, and was perfect. It was served with a vegan ricotta, (which again, was a new experience for me and absolutely delicious) pumpkin seeds and grilled tomato. We all agreed they were amazing dishes.
Next course up was an easy one for our waitress. The boys and Nik all had the Bevette steak, served on toasted bread, and finished with a red whine sauce and perfect fried egg on the top. I had baked butter beans in a smokey paprika sauce, served on tofu. It was supposed to come with a vegan halloumi, but they didn’t have any! I was very disappointed with this as I was so keen to try the vegan halloumi. Still, what I did have instead was lovely, but I couldn’t understand how they didn’t have any. We were the first brunch sitting so I am sure they couldn’t have run out? Still, to give credit where it is due, despite my choice having to be adapted, once again we did all enjoyed this course.
The fourth and final course was the sweet course. There was a choice of about eight dishes in this course, but again, one of the vegan ones was unavailable. I was happy with my second choice, a berry crumble cake, but again could not understand how they had another item not available so early in the day. Other dishes chosen on our table was an eton mess, (amazing), a warm waffle with fruit and cream, (gorgeous) and my eldest son chose the cheese and biscuits (good, strong cheeses). Every thing was once again devoured and enjoyed.
When we finished our meal, we went up another flight of stairs. The 40th floor is where the bar is, and we thought it would be nice for a coffee to finish up there. (You can book a voucher just for the bar, I have put details here for you) We were right. The bar for sure had the wow factor for me. Its on the very top of the Gherkin, and flooded with light. The views are almost 360 degrees, and far reaching. One of my favourite landmarks of London is Tower Bridge, (its so fairy tale) and you can see the bridge and right up the Thames. Its a stunning place to have a few drinks, and I can imagine its spectacular of a night time when London is in all her illuminated glory. I think I will make a return visit…..
So, in summary, we had an absolutely wonderful time and the food we ate was amazing. I have no complaints with regards to that, and I would recommend people give it a try. It does seem that if you are a table of two, you have a much, much better chance of being seated right next to the window. There seemed to be only two tables that seated four in the window. The Gherkin is a gorgeous, iconic building and the views are fabulous. We all said that despite my couple of niggles, we would go back, especially up to the bar.
However, I cannot give you my truthful review without saying that I was a little dissapointed with the table, (and still cannot understand why we couldn’t move), I feel that the staff could have been more attentive and efficient, and I would not expect a venue of this standing to have items missing from the menu at the first sitting. It was Fathers Day, so was busy, but as I understand it, it is like that every brunch so not an exception.
What do you think? Are you a fan of a great view when you eat? Is there a City view that you just love, either in London or where you live? Do you love a roof top bar or restaurant? Let me know your thoughts. Im always keen to find out other views I need to check out with a cocktail in hand…..