A lot has happened since I last blogged.
I have a new job, a new home and a new city to call home – London. After resisting the move for almost four (amazing) years, it’s finally happened and I couldn’t be happier. That being said, the last four weeks has been absolutely knackering – moving your whole life to a new city does take its toll! I was looking for a nice restaurant to celebrate this new chapter in my life and more importantly to kick off my London blogging journey so when I saw the post about Searcys pop up on Samphire and Salsify (one of my favourite food blogs), I just had to book a table.
The Searcys occupying the top three floors of the Gherkin, is home to London’s highest private members club. To celebrate ten years of serving up some of the finest menus with the best 360° view of the city, they decided to open up the restaurant to the public for five weeks – how could I miss out on that?
The Gherkin (a.k.a 30 St Mary Axe) is my favourite building in London, I have always been a fan of Lord Foster’s striking design since it opened way back in 2004. I don’t think anything that has been built since has ever been able to match up the iconic beauty of the Gherkin including the Shard. Yes, I said it.
After going through airport like security and two sets of lifts, Seb, Tess, Will and I finally made it to the top. We arrived slightly early so decided to go up to the bar on floor 40 for a drink before settling down for our meal on the floor below. Everything about the Searcys at the Gherkin screams sophisticated and exclusive, right from the three check in points before you even get to the restaurant to the glossy minimalistic interiors – it’s all about the view and the view hits you as soon as you walk up the spiral staircase into the bar.
And what a view it is!
We ordered a few cocktails whilst enjoying the sunset over the beautiful London skyline. They have quite a selection of drinks to choose from and the friendly team at the bar are more than happy to help you pick one.
Cocktails finished, our hostess lead us down to the restaurant and we were shown to our table which luckily was by that stunning view. Trust me that view never gets old!
You have the option of choosing from one of four different menus including a 3 course set menu but we opted for the special 10 year anniversary tasting menu. After all, you only turn 10 once eh? I absolutely love the way they present their taster menu here – each pebble in the box symbolised a different plate. It’s left on the table to remind you of the well thought out taster menu while you go through the various dishes.
Menu chosen, wine ordered, we got down to business!
We were first treated to a salmon cone taster and some bread before our first courses were brought out. The salmon taster was beautiful – it leaves you wanting more which is never a bad thing.
The bread on the other hand, I wasn’t a fan of. It tasted dry and the flavours were quite boring. I really wish more restaurants spend some time perfecting the bread they serve up – it’s usually the first course that diners try and it tends to set the scene for the meal. I did, however, like the foam butter that accompanied the bread – perfectly salted and so very light!
Thankfully the rest of the meal was a completely different picture – it only got better. Our first course of Tarragon, Fennel, Sourdough was a piece of art; beautifully presented and it looked a little too pretty to eat. The sourdough base perfectly complemented the tarragon and fennel topping – I absolutely loved it.
This was quickly followed by our second dish of Watermelon, Ginger, Lime Compression. Another perfect little starter – light, refreshing and I really liked the hints of ginger and lime in the foam.
The watermelon compression didn’t last too long at our table ; we scoffed it down in a matter of seconds.
The Asparagus Velouté, Sweetcorn Ganache was my favourite dish at Searcys – the complex flavours were absolutely stunning. The asparagus velouté was as the name suggests, smooth as velvet and the sweetcorn ganache completed this dish brilliantly. I would come back here just for this one dish.
Next up was a dish of Ham Hock, Saffron, Cauliflower. The ham hock was cooked perfectly and the flavours were spot on. Enough said.
I absolutely love my scallops so was quite looking forward to our next plate of Scallop, Jersey Royal, Pea, Broad Bean. Scallops can be quite hard to get ‘just right’ but the scallops were perfectly cooked. The flavours on this plate however were slightly confusing for me and I didn’t see the point of serving up the Jersey Royal potato with the scallops; it did nothing to enhance the scallops in my opinion.
The Red Mullet, Bouillabaisse, Bread Foam was right up there with the asparagus velouté as one of my favourite dishes of the night. Top marks for presentation and that piece of red mullet cooked at 40 degrees and served at room temperature was perfection – potentially the best red mullet I have ever had. There I said it.
The Herb Sorbet palate cleanser was right up my street. Palate cleansers usually tend to be boring but not this one – it was light refreshing and the herbs really made the sorbet pop. I was happy to give up the rest of my meal for another portion of the Herb Sorbet. I obviously didn’t but that’s how good it was. Who knew rocket, basil and red wine vinegar made a good sorbet eh?
Next up was our main – Hardwick Best End Of Lamb, Ratte potato, Mushroom. Seb and Will aren’t the biggest fan of lamb but they absolutely loved this dish – surely a sign of a good dish? The lamb was cooked to perfection and that jus was an explosion of flavours – perfection on a plate. I was also quite impressed with the portion sizes; this wasn’t a minuscule portion of lamb either.
And before we knew it, it was time for pudding! The first dessert was Pineapple Consommé, Coconut – a coconut sorbet served on a bed of pineapple chunks topped up with a pineapple consommé. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this dessert unfortunately. The presentation was a let down after all those beautifully presented plates and I also thought it was a little too sweet for my liking.
Our second dessert Strawberry, Champagne Jelly made up for it both in presentation and flavour. It was a piece of art and I loved every single bite. It was the perfect ending to a well thought out taster meal.
Wines finished, taste menu enjoyed, we chatted away taking with that beautiful view. It’s not everyday that you get to enjoy a 360′ view of the stunning London skyline.
We said our good byes and decided to walk it back home in an attempt to burn some of that rich food off. Not very successfully though with all those photo stops!
The Searcys At The Gherkin is truly a special experience and it’s something every foodie should experience at least once in their life. The service is immaculate, the food is spot on and the setting is like nothing else in London. It’s no longer open to the public but I would highly recommend hunting down a member and going up to the top to experience this landmark dining destination. It’s not to be missed.