Sunday used to be about the roast.
Having lunch and a pint in your local pub, or even round the dinner table with your family.
But brunch has slowly been creeping in as the meal ‘de jour’ – curing those hangover blues with anything from a fry-up, to a full three-course meal.
And London appears to be the king of the brunch.
No matter where you go, a Sunday brunch is something to be savoured – whether with your family, or with friends rolling over from the night before.
But what if you fancy trying something a little unique?
Located in the now infamous ‘Walkie-Talkie building’ in London (otherwise known by it’s official name of 20 Fenchurch) and 36 floors up, with incredible views and a delicious, mouth-watering menu, is Darwin Brasserie.
Serving breakfast and an all day menu is this light and bright restaurant that attracts visitors from all over to enjoy one of London’s best views with their meal.
I went along to sample their special Sunday brunch menu and soak up the surroundings.
Table with a view
If there’s one thing that makes this venue so remarkable – it’s the view. Situated within the Sky Garden in 20 Fenchurch, aka the Walkie Talkie building, the spectacular floor-to-ceiling views out onto the Sky Garden and beyond is something really to enjoy.
The restaurant itself has a real buzz to it – many tables are located around the panoramic glass windows giving you a fantastic look out on London, but even if you’re set back you still get to soak up the great atmosphere and view.
Start as you mean to go on
If you’re still feeling all fuzzy and brain-dead from the night before, the bottomless bloody Mary bar is certainly where you should start. Served with or without alcohol, this famous concoction is a great way to revive and prepare yourself for the three-courses ahead.
If a bloody Mary isn’t quite your thing and you’re prepared to carry on where you left off – then i’d suggest going for the bottomless Prosecco!
I opted for a delicious alcohol-free bloody Mary and boy did it have a kick to it. I may not have been nursing a hangover, but it blew the late-night cobwebs away.
It felt wonderful sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the view.
Once you’ve savoured your bloody Mary, it’s time to explore the rather extensive cocktail list.
Firstly, ingredients are clearly just as important as aesthetics here- and I was really impressed by the long list of drinks on offer, all made fresh and with a variety of different concoctions!
I absolutely love a good mocktail, and often feel disappointed that so little effort is put into non-alcoholic mixes.
But the choice here was fantastic – four individual alcohol-free cocktails with a variety of fruits and mixtures.
I opted for the rather fabulous Forest Flower, mixed with strawberries, pineapple, blueberries and blackberries. A really sweet drink, but worked perfectly following the rather savoury-tasting bloody Mary
My partner went for something with a bit more kick – the Valiente, a rum-based cocktail muddled with coconut, lulo and orange.
After ordering, there really is nothing better than watching the world go by from your table. There’s so much to see! I was lucky to visit on a really sunny day and you could see as far as Wembley Stadium from our table.
Start as you mean to go on
The menu here at Darwin Brasserie is pretty varied, and there is something on there to suit most people’s tastes.
The starters are more unusual than i’ve seen on a typical brunch menu but that’s by no means a bad thing.
I opted for the pumpkin veloute with chestnut custard and wild mushrooms.
It arrived served in a bowl and had a creamy, thick soup-like texture. The flavours really jump out at you, in particular the pumpkin which worked really well with the chestnut.
My partner went for the Goodwood salt beef with horseradish, watercress and puffed rice. Beautifully presented and great tasting, this is the perfect starter size if you’re going for something a littler heavier for a main!
The Main Event
I loved the fact that if you fancied a full-on roast, you could. Or if you’re like me and fancy something lighter, there’s always the traditional brunch favourites (including a full English, and Eggs Royale).
I went for the wild mushroom and Cotswold Legbar fried eggs on sour dough bread which was a really nice and light alternative to the fry-up.
The mushrooms were really flavoursome and the egg cooked to perfection. It was perhaps a little on the small side and I had to steal some chips from my partner’s dish – so might be worth ordering with one of the sides (truffle fries perhaps).
If you fancy something different there are some rather unique dishes on the menu including a confit duck burger with truffled duck egg, which my partner sampled, and savoured!
The red cabbage ketchup went down really well, and complimented the dish beautifully.
End it on this
It’s safe to say I have a sweet tooth and i’ll often choose my dessert before i’ve even considered my main or starter.
So you can imagine my excitement at finding out that the dessert menu was in fact a buffet, where you help yourself to all sorts of exciting sweets from the bar.
Miniature forms of vanilla custard doughnuts, buttermilk panna cotta, chocolate brownie and banoffie pie greet you at the bar and you can go back as often as you like.
If only i’d known this before i’d stuffed myself with chips!
Although I was almost ready to pop after overindulging on the chocolate brownie, I still wanted to sample one of the freakshakes.
We ordered the freak dough – a mammoth milkshake layered with cream, salted caramel and a doughnut for good measure.
I was left feeling a little disappointed by it – while it tasted ok, you couldn’t really distinguish the salted caramel and eating the doughnut was almost impossible without making a great big mess.
However it certainly didn’t detract from the rest of the meal which was wonderful.
If I was to return i’d stick to the 3 course brunch menu which is great value at just over £40 per person.
One of the great selling points of this lovely Brasserie is of course the view.
And it doesn’t disappoint! I’d recommend getting there a bit early and sampling the 360 degree views from the Sky Garden.
Take in the City of London, St Pauls, Wembley Stadium, The Shard and lots of other famous landmarks.
The Darwin Brasserie is very popular – and you’ll need to book a table in advance.
Because of heightened security you will need to go through an x-ray machine on the ground floor.
If you have a booking at the restaurant you will be able to queue jump – so keep this in mind when visiting.
I had a fabulous time at the Darwin Brasserie and looking forward to my return trip. It’s a really unique location with great food and fabulous service – and would work really well for a party or hen do, especially with the bottomless prosecco offer.
Please note: The Brit Crowd was kindly invited to a complementary brunch at Darwin Brasserie. However this in no way reflects the review which as always remains unbiased, truthful and honest in every way.