I can currently confirm that the following locations are free of Internet/workplace-harassing weirdos. Establishments of choice from earlier on this year also include ROVI (June 2018) and Duck & Waffle (January 2019).
Level 36, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 8AF| skygarden.london/darwin
It was a choice between a 17:30 or 21:00 sitting, but I’d say the earlier the better as it means you get to sit by the window to enjoy the views. By the time 18:15 came around, it was already starting to get quite busy and most of the tables by windows were occupied. As is usually the case for places like this, you only get the table for about 90 minutes or so, but if the service is quick (which it was), then that isn’t normally a problem, and the good thing is that at least there is the rest of the Sky Garden to have a look at later on anyway (though the outdoor viewing area is closed off from 18:00).
The food was really good and my steak was cooked to my (medium rare) liking, though nothing exceptional to outdo places like Gaucho or London Steakhouse Company. I decided not to have a starter to leave room for whatever desserts were available, eventually going for the lovely (and surprisingly light) mango and passion fruit cheesecake with a rasperberry sorbet.
Patch enjoyed his burger, though there was some fuss from the waitress when ordering when she said that, “Due to legal reasons, we have to service this well done.” Portion sizes were good and general experience/atmosphere was good overall, though obviously the price point for this kind of dining (fancy building with good views) is reflected in the menu.
Bizarrely, drinks in the restaurant were cheaper than in the actual Sky Garden itself, but then I imagine they choose to charge a premium in the garden bars to account for visitors who have access the Sky Garden via the limited availability of free tickets.
Duck & Waffle Local
52 Haymarket, St. James’ Market, London SW1Y 4RP | duckandwafflelocal.com
Me and the gang visited the 24-hour Bishopsgate establishment earlier on this year, but decided to carry on our tradition of random (usually last-minute) Sunday brunches at the Duck & Waffle “Local” branch on Haymarket.
Here the atmosphere is decidedly less fussy, where you can enjoy many of the highlights of the Bishopsgate menu, though the menu at D&W Local is significantly reduced in size (disappointingly however, D&W Local recently decided to drop the “duck doughnut”, which was a firm favourite of the group).
I ordered the scotched egg with some potato croquettes/hash brown things (whilst there were duck and waffles all round, and as usual, a lot of prosecco):
For dessert, some had (more) waffles. I was offered a selection of sorbets, one being a Pimm’s flavour, but I can’t say that dessert was anything to write home about and I do wish I had gone with the banana waffles instead:
16 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3DL | kovapatisserie.com
Having previously enjoyed Kova’s Japanese-style patisserie offerings at their Soho café, I was recently invited to sample more at the soft launch of their new branch in South Kensington (beacuse one can never turn down the offer of free cake, obviously).
The hochija latte was predictably yummy, as was the chocolate check cake. The lovely people at Kova however did not stop with the free treats there and I was presented with a lemon and lime iced tea (which was very refreshing) and the sea salt lava cheese cake. It’s certainly not the type of cheese cake you’re thinking of and it actually comes with a covering of soft cheese.
It was an absolute monster to look at:
That said, who knew that “cheezo” over a soft and fluffy sponge cake would work?