Gianni (https://acrossthehogsback.wordpress.com) and I met for brunch at the Darwin Brasserie at the Walkie-Talkie building today. We haven’t seen each other for a while, life has just got in the way, so I was looking forward to catching up. And having a jolly good feast. No breakfast for me.
At the time of writing, the Walkie-Talkie is the fifth tallest building in London, and is given its nick-name because of its shape. The building, completed in 2014, is not, in my opinion, particularly attractive from the outside, and it infamous for the fact that its concave mirror effect windows reflected sunlight on vehicles parked below in Eastcheap causing significant damage. Oh yes, some of the tour guides I know have had a huge laugh about the architect’s lack of knowledge of basic physics. The wind tunnel created by this building is another testament to that. It’s a good job I’ve got short hair.
For me though, the building redeems itself for its sky gardens, which were opened in January 2015 and span the top three floors. The view is tremendous, and made better because you get to see the Shard (still not my favourite building in the world, but better than looking at the Walkie-Talkie).
Back to brunch. We walked past the fairly centrally placed cold buffet table on the way to our table, sufficient to get the gastric juices flowing. A sofa for the back seat and a chair on each of two sides, I had a choice, but decided to sit on the chair opposite Gianni; the palm tree close to our table might have decided that my food was a trifle too tasty…
For the cold starters there was a choice of Bloody Mary Prawn Cocktail (delicious), various fruit juices, the Milkshake “Bar” (a smoothie made from tomato, blueberry, kale, vanilla bean, berries, banana and caramel. I didn’t have one, didn’t have space for that, but will ensure I do for next time), a selection of fruit, the Bloody Mary “bar” (three different types of Bloody Mary, and yes I did, and yes, it was delicious), an asparagus vinaigrette (asparagus with truffle, peas, broad beans and goat’s cheese, although it was just asparagus and peas by the time I got to it, not that it mattered, asparagus is good enough for me), delicious York ham, smoked salmon, Parma ham and salami, and a selection of salads.
I love cold meats, and salads, so this was a good start for me. The ham and the parma ham were very good quality, the new potato salad was tasty, but not like the one my Mum used to make, all of the starters were appetising and flavoursome. Gianni had an oyster and Chinese chilli Bloody Mary, I went for the original. Excellent.
Gianni ordered corned beef hash for her main, while I chose the full English. It was a tough decision, the roasts looked good too. My only complaint was that the black pudding (which I don’t eat very often) was disappointingly dry; Gianni was a little disappointed in her hash – it had brown sauce at the bottom, which wasn’t to her taste. Good job that the desserts made up for it.
They had a selection of cheeses and doughnuts, as well as blueberry cheesecake, lemon posset, crème brulee and a blueberry smoothie. Oh and what I thought was stewed apple, but it turned out to be stewed apple and pears with cinnamon, which was a pleasant change as I don’t eat pastries. There was also fresh fruit, so pretty much something to suit everyone.
Gianni finished off with a Pimm’s No 1 while I had a glass of Pinot Grigio… A very good finish to brunch. One of the things I liked about it here was that I didn’t feel rushed, even though we were there for about two and a half hours. We probably should have gone for a long walk afterwards but it wasn’t to be on this occasion. We settled for taking photographs.
© Susan Shirley 2015