My sister is vegan which means going out for meals isn't very easy. Most restaurants do a vegetarian option however that usually includes cheese which obviously my sister does not eat. When I booked to go to the Darwin Brasserie for my birthday, I didn't even give her dietary requirements one iota of thought - I was too busy thinking about the huge amounts I could eat!!
Darwin Brasserie is one of the restaurants in the Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street in the city. The space there is incredible - I love a view of London and I can easily say this is one of the best as the area is so immense - you don't have that crowded feeling like you do in the Shard or the London Eye - plus there is a gorgeous open air terrace. The garden part is "green" but I was expecting more flowers and foliage, it was disappointing in that respect, however the view more than makes up for it.
Anyway back to the food! The Darwin Brasserie is an all day restaurant serving the best of British food. The a la carte menu is full of great classic dishes such as steak tartar, goats cheese and red pepper ravioli, a pulled pork burger and fish and chips. However they recently launched an all day Sunday brunch which is what we enjoyed.
We started at the buffet table which was delightful. Thankfully there were a few vegan options - Kirsty tucked into a beautiful heritage tomato salad, quinoa with roasted vegetables, antipasti of olives, garlic and artichokes, asparagus, rocket and peas and freshly baked bread. All absolutely delicious, fresh and flavoursome.
Arabella enjoyed the charcuterie platter of hams and salamis - in fact she went up three times just for salami - the goats cheese, tomato salad, olives, potato salad and fresh baked bread and butter.
I obviously went to town and had the same as the others plus more! I had a prawn cocktail salad, beautiful blue cheese, quinoa with roasted vegetables, salami, heritage tomato salad, goat's cheese, asparagus, cornichons, smoked salmon with red onion sour cream and freshly baked bread. It was hard to stop myself going up again and again it was all so good.
We also enjoyed some juices and the milkshake bar - I had a banana and caramel - fab combination.
For "mains" we ordered off the menu - you could choose from breakfast items such as a full English or an omelette or you could go for something more "lunch-like" for example roast leg of lamb or roast rib of beef.
Arabella easily chose spinach and ricotta tortellini. The pasta shells were stuffed to the brim and had a hint of lemon and were extremely tasty.
Unfortunately there was not one vegan friendly item for my sister Kirsty to order so instead she had second helpings at the buffet and I ordered two dishes for myself (oink oink). My favourite is Eggs Benedict which I can never resist on a menu. This was very good - perfectly cooked eggs and a creamy hollandaise sauce.
Even though I felt I could not eat another bite, I could not resist the pancake stack with bacon and maple syrup. A true American breakfast. These were good, however the bacon wasn't crispy enough - it was too British. If I had them again I would order them with chocolate and caramelised banana.
Next was the pudding buffet - I had been eyeing up the treats since we walked into the restaurant and even though I literally could not fit in another mouthful, I had to give it a go. There was so much to choose from. Kirsty had a mixed berry smoothie and fresh fruit….no wonder she is so skinny and healthy!
Arabella had the same but also a chocolate brownie which we decided was the best brownie we had ever eaten.
Being the piglet that I am, I had a donut and creme brûlée. The creme brûlée was a little disappointing - I guess because it hadn't been made there and then, but the donut was good!
There were many more puddings such as blueberry cheesecake, roast peach sundae and a selection of cheeses but we were too full - unfortunate but not surprising.
My darling sister and daughter organised me a little birthday treat and then we literally rolled out of the restaurant.
A really fantastic meal. These types of buffet brunches are always popular overseas and I am pleased to see more of them over here - I think it is a great way to spend a Sunday with friends. However you need to have a big appetite - all this food is not for the faint hearted. The food cost £38 per head (£19 for children), which considering the amount and quality, is not a bad deal. Service was quick, friendly and efficient and the view was phenomenal. A great restaurant - I can not wait to come back again soon.
20 Fenchurch Street
Tel: 0333 772 0020 (option 4 or 5)