So I have two very close friends and the three of us are together most of the time. One is my school friend so I have known her for 20 years (makes me feel pretty old) and the other, my university friend and we have just celebrated our 10th anniversary 🙂
Now those of you with friends that old (and older) will know that like any good relationship you got to keep things fresh. And that gets harder, you know the same people, you have been to lots of places together and what is most important here… You have given each other lots of birthday presents and it’s getting harder to keep raising the bar.
Guys, you may not understand this, but buying a good birthday present is crucial to a lasting relation. Girls read into it… Very much!
So the three of us came to the agreement that we would stop buying each other presents, instead we would do something together (2 out of 3 presents down for this year and both so far have revolved around food!). That’s what brings us to this story… for my present (we’re playing catch up so it was 4 months late) I was treated to lunch at Searcy’s at the Gherkin by my two lovely friends.
It was meant to be a surprise, but I am not very good with surprises. I want a surprise, but will fervently guess what the surprise is, spoiling it for the surprise-giver. So when I was told to meet my two friends at Liverpool Street, I had a sneaking suspicion. They lead me down Bishopsgate and then through the smaller streets surrounded by a mass of construction, we passed the Gherkin and I notified them that we had walked past the Gherkin. They looked at me with disappointment (as I had spoiled the surprise again) and we turned back and headed in.
I was so happy!
Searcy’s is on the 39th floor and it takes not one, but two lifts to get up there and also a bag scan when you walk in.
The restaurant itself is quite corporate, black glossy tiles on the floor, dark grey walls and black and metals chairs and tables. Not the most comforting. However that is not why you travel up the Gherkin… you go for the view and it does not disappoint. We got an amazing table, right up at the window with the Shard straight ahead, the Walkie Talkie building just down to our right (it looks quite small from up there!) and the Cheese Grater right next to us (looking pretty big!).
So halal meat is available at Searcy’s (yay!), but you do have to let them know in advance. The waiter mentioned 48 hours is sufficient, but please double check yourself if you are planning a visit. Bless my friends, neither being halal did not realise you needed to order in advance and despite speaking to the manager, nothing could be arranged so I was pescatarian for the meal. But I definitely did not miss out!
For starters I went for the scallops (I usually do). Yes, I can hear you all scream you’re a foodie be more adventurous. But they are so good! And these ones, wow! They were plump and cooked just right. And to accompany them freeze dried strawberries (the kind I had on my Special K that morning), fresh strawberries, strawberry puree, basil foam, all overlaid with some brittle. An amazing colourful array on the black plate (as you can see from the picture). And it all worked so well together (well except the freeze dried fruit)! Absolutely delish!
Then for mains I went for the monkfish, which originally came with a bacon puree and I had this changed to be halal-compliant. Wow! The monkfish was so meaty and well flavoured. It came with black carrot and some crunchy greens. You could really tell this has been well thought out. The colours and textures all complemented and contrasted each other in the right way. The sweet of the carrot and puree worked with the savoury monkfish.
And lastly for dessert, well it just had to be cheesecake. But not just any cheesecake, decomposed cheesecake! We joked that it actually takes a lot less effort than ‘composed’ cheesecake. The plate arrived with piped peaks of the creamy part, crumbled biscuit, fresh strawberries, powdered basil and a scoop of sorbet. The piped cream topping was so rich and absolutely luscious. Probably one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever tasted!
To top it all off we were brought dark chocolate balls filled with toffee. Don’t they just make a great photo!
Definitely a special occasion type of place, but when one comes up, go! They do a three course set menu for £45, however some dishes attract a £5 supplement, which included the scallops. As well as a tasting menu for £59. Not too badly priced for fine dining. However as with a lot of fine dining, the portions are small and although rich, not too filling. But for lunch, it was ideal!