For budding papapreneurs who want to take their loved one somewhere special yet not have to rely on just the food and drink to wow, I found that places with a view never disappointed. I recently tried out Helix at the Gherkin. There was enough variety to entertain and surprise my lady including a picturesque view of London, and a tasty tipple or two for me as well.
Searcys’ iconic restaurants, Champagne bars and events have a world-renowned, long-standing reputation for quality and innovation. The first ever event caterers in the UK, founded in 1847 by John Searcy, they’ve carved out a name as brave market- leaders, launching bold, forward-thinking concepts including the original in-station Champagne bar at St Pancras, one of London’s first skyscraper restaurants, as well as cafés and restaurants in two World Heritage Sites. Their 30 plus venues across the UK, serve fresh, modern dishes that focus on sustainability, local produce and world-class service standards.
The Gherkin was the building that first changed the landscape of the new London skyline. Since then it has reasserted its architectural worth as well as its culinary credibility in the face of its new sky-high neighbours. In July 2018, Searcys at the Gherkin launched a reimagined dining and bar concept of HELIX and IRIS on levels 39 and 40 of London’s iconic Norman Foster-designed building.
The names of the restaurant and bar derive from the Gherkin’s structure itself, the helix shape which is the pinnacle of the building is an iconic sight, visible across the city. Less well known, is that when viewed from above it forms an iris shape – designed by Foster to reflect the Gherkin’s place as the eye over the city.
HELIX restaurant, located on level 39 at the iconic Gherkin offers sky-high contemporary dining at both lunch and dinner with majestic views across the city. A proud celebration of British produce in one of London’s finest landmarks, Executive Chef Daniel Loftin, previously head chef at Royal House London and Peninsula Restaurant, delivers menus that put seasonal and local produce centre stage.
Perched high above the city, this elegant, contemporary space combines big-sky views and intimate dining. Helix’s menus focus on celebrating seasonality and the best ingredients available in the British Isles, keeping Searcys’ commitment to sustainability and quality at its heart. Salmon comes directly from John Ross Jr, holders of the Queen’s warrant, in Scotland, all fruit and vegetables are sourced from the UK, and meat is locally and lovingly selected from some of the country’s finest farms.
The Dorset crab with grapefruit, soy and sesame was very flavourful and fresh. The sweetness of the crab, fruitiness of the grape and tartness of the apple were beautifully brought together by the soy and sesame sauce into probably one of the best starters I’ve had. The various flavours of the diverse components of this dish married together to create an amazing dish with its presentation as equally impressive as the taste.
Crispy pig’s head with ‘nduja, pecorino and burnt apple clearly demonstrated a mastery of both the finest British ingredients and the art of plating.
The Venison main course was beautifully presented with a lovely piece of venison. The sauce was wonderful.
Line-caught wild bass was cooked to perfection with the addition of octopus and sea vegetables adding further flavour dimension to this superb seafood dish.
The Chestnut parfait dessert had a gorgeous grouping of the many components and flavours. Light but satisfying, filled with wonderful flavours and textures. A wonderful way of ending the meal.
The Lemon tart is served in contemporary fashion with delicate meringue, sweet raspberry puree and smooth creme fraiche ice cream to create a dessert which really refreshes the palate.
Alongside the restaurant, the IRIS bar has made the epic 360° views available to the public for the very first time. Previously the site of a members-only club, IRIS is open to all and will offer an extensive cocktail menu as unique as the setting, paying homage to the London sights and neighbourhoods that can all be spied below from the Gherkin’s distinctive position.
Guests are able to reserve a space in the IRIS bar from 11am to 11pm. Searcys’ expertise in exquisite champagne, English sparkling wine and cocktails, alongside unrivalled London views, make every visit to the Iris bar a celebration. The unique cocktail menu draws inspiration from its very special view with the list overseen by Head Mixologist Federico Geniale.
Cocktails include The Little White Bird, inspired by the Kensington Gardens, with its Peter Pan associations of Violet liqueur, vanilla vodka, lychee, elderflower, lemon and English sparkling wine.
Whilst the Jack the Ripper (Mediterranean herbs vodka, beetroot juice, tomato, lemon, Worcester sauce, Mexican sauce), a dark local twist on the Bloody Mary, references Whitechapel’s most famous former visitor.
The dress code is casual elegance. HELIX lunch service is from 12pm – 2.15pm and dinner service is from 6pm – 9pm. The IRIS Bar is open from 11am to 11pm
Searcys at The Gherkin
30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8AP
0330 107 0816