I am a terrible Londoner. Even though I love the city of my birth, revel in its history and read countless books based here, I tend not to move far from Camden where I live. I like my home, I love my friends and am just as happy lolling about in my garden with a good bottle of wine as I am sitting at a riverside bar on the South Bank.
I suspect that I am not alone in this. Put me in a city in Foreign and I become an obsessive sightseer, ticking off mental lists of monuments, exhibitions, shops, and galleries. Put me in London’s West End and I look for the bus stop home.
But the flipside of this is that when I do decide to venture out of NW1 for a night out I surprise myself with how much I enjoy the outing. Take this lovely evening I spent with my mama up the Gherkin. That’s a score in terms of sightseeing alone, as you can’t just rock up to St Mary Axe, as it is officially known. It’s such a well-known London landmark that it’s clearly an obvious terrorism risk so all visitors have to be booked in in advance and anyone wanting to eat in the restaurant on the 39th and 40th floors, Searcy’s at the Gherkin, must have a reservation.
It really is an extraordinary building. Designed by Sir Norman Foster and completed in 2004, the 41-storey and 180 metre (591 foot) building took a total of two years to construct.
We were there to visit Seaside in the Sky, a six-week pop-up featuring both a Coastline Restaurant on the 39th floor and the 40th floor Beach Hut Bar. Inspired by Britain’s great seaside locations, and paired with drinks from Nyetimber and Plymouth Gin, the menu by chef Barry Tonks is based around British produce, locally sourced seafood, cured meats, and fresh cheeses.
We ate at the bar in the very dome of the building.
It’s quite extraordinary – as though one is floating above the city, and the views are beautiful.
Searcys at The Gherkin
30 St Mary Axe
London, EC3A 8EP
Telephone: 020 7071 5025
Sasha and her mother were guests of Searcy’s at the Gherkin in July 2017