Kiwi chef Monica Galetti, judge of Masterchef: The Professionals and sous chef at Michelin-starred La Gavroche takes the reins at The Gherkin’s Searcys restaurant for a month of exquisite food and spectacular views - this experience really isn’t one to miss.
The tip of the Gherkin, one of London’s most iconic buildings, is usually reserved as a private members club - however for this month (Jan & Feb), the restaurant is being opened for a special ‘pop-up’ menu inspired by Galetti’s passion for seasonal produce.
I had been invited by my friend Adam, editor of JustOpened London, and as we arrived we were immediately ushered into our seats and offered a glass of champagne from their selection of six different open bottles.
As we sipped our bubbly, our window table provided stunning (but cloudy) views of London from the Tower of London to Regent’s Park via the Shard, St Paul’s and much of central London.
Seasonality was very much at the heart of the menu, with ever-tempting starters such as scallops in a black curry sauce to a cauliflower velouté with duck confit. Seeing as Adam chose the cauliflower, I went instead for the ox tongue with an apple and kohlrabi salad - a fine collection of crunch and tang to offset the tender, smooth flavour of the tongue itself.
To compliment the dishes, the very helpful and knowledgable sommelier provided us with fitting wines. The chosen white did perfectly offset the mustard bite in the dressing with a light, subdued flavour.
For the main, I was torn between the glazed beef short rib (with bacon!) and the roasted venison loin - both looked equally attractive. We both eventually settled for the venison and quickly agreed that it was a good choice. The combination of a sweet cranberry and juniper sauce and red cabbage provided the beautifully tender (slightly pink) venison loin with a perfectly sweet, fruity accompaniment. Again, the helpful som provided us with a perfect choice of red and, happily, was more than willing to refill.
Finally, before we headed upstairs to the 360° viewing bar, we finished off the meal with a dessert. For a third time, each option looked equally mouth-watering. Our waiter explained that the ‘M.A.D Crème Brûlée’ was a personal family tradition for the Galetti family (M stood for Monica with the A & D for other members of the family) - I went for that. Rather to my surprise, when I cracked the shell, I discovered that the flavour was a blood orange stew hiding beneath the crème. A delicious and welcome addition to a classic dish.
If the challenge was to serve winter produce with imagination, creativity and colour then Galetti has certainly succeeded - with the conscientious serving staff, sommelier’s nose and moody panoramic views topping off the experience to a perfect conclusion.
Searcys | The Gherkin is open for a limited range of lunch and dinner dates until the 11th Feb 2016. Find out more details about the restaurant and the menu, click here.