If you’re planning on exploring all that London has to offer, then a whistle-stop tour of the capital’s most exciting and vibrant culinary destinations should be high on your list.
Home to world-renowned chefs, expert sommeliers and cutting-edge Michelin star restaurants, London is the place to experience impeccable fine dining. And with the rise of the London skyscraper restaurants showing no sign of waning, there couldn’t be a better way to take in the city sights than by joining the mile high dining club.
Hutong, The Shard
Transport your tastebuds to Northern China and sample dishes based on the traditional ‘Lu School’ of cuisine at Hutong. Group Head Chef Yuan Shihai has created an array of exciting and innovative dishes like fried prawns with salted egg yolk and crab roe sauce, alongside firm favourites such as sautéed crispy shredded beef. While you salivate over the menu, sit back and marvel at the expansive cityscape, from all the way up on the 33rd floor of Western Europe’s tallest building. Traditional Chinese red lanterns and hand carved wooden panelled ‘moon gates’ litter the space, creating a chic yet zen environment, ideal for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of London Bridge below.
City Social, Tower42
It appears that no London skyscraper is complete without a Michelin star chef heading up its in-house restaurant, and Tower42 is no exception. Celebrated British chef Jason Atherton’s furore into the London skyscraper restaurants scene sees him create a contemporary Art Deco haven nestled in the clouds. Located on the 24th floor, Atherton’s City Social has enlisted chef Paul Walsh to oversee the food, which encompasses the best of British fine dining. If you’re a fan of Atherton’s slick and highly skilled approach to food, you’ll love what he’s been cooking up at Tower42.
Oblix, The Shard
If sophisticated modern dining is more your thing then Oblix, on The Shard’s 32nd floor, should be your culinary destination of choice. Upon entering, you’ll witness the pure theatrics of the setting. Guests can watch the masterful chefs hard at work in the open kitchen or saunter over to the impressive cocktail bar and sip on a mescal tinged cocktail like the Acapulco Gold or an indulgent Green Tea and Hibiscus Manhattan. If you’re something of a wine aficionado, you’ll love the interactive Sommelier station (the first of its kind), where guests can sample rare vintages and join a mini wine tasting masterclass.
Sushi Samba, Heron Tower
Being whisked up in the glass lift feels a little like that scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, only when you reach the 38th floor there’ll be more than a golden ticket to keep you amused. Sushi Samba serves up fusion cuisine at its best and although the eclectic mix of Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese cuisines may not sound like a match made in heaven, it works surprisingly well. The expansive views across the city and beyond are a true spectacle, but even the décor inside will have you hooked - namely the dramatic bamboo ceiling that arches across diners as they tuck into dishes like Wagyu Tataki and delicate Samba rolls.
Madison, St Paul’s
Take a trip to the stylish roof terrace at One New Change in St Paul’s and experience the environs of Madison. A cursory glance out of the floor to ceiling windows offers up a unique vantage of some of London’s best-known landmarks, most notably the rounded dome of the St Paul’s Cathedral. The panoramic views will sustain your attention, but the hearty brassiere style gastronomy will certainly satisfy your appetite. We’re not talking haute cuisine here, but a simple menu of brasserie classics certainly does the job. As day turns to dusk the low lighting and plush furnishings create a comfortable, chic and modern setting in which to relax and unwind.
Duck and Waffle, Heron Tower
When Duck and Waffle launched in the summer of 2012, it created quite a buzz amongst foodies and curious minds alike. Now, a few years on, it remains one of the top London skyscraper restaurants, with visitors flocking here to sample high quality fusion food served up with undeniable flair. Take the glass lift up 40 floors (and watch the city whiz past) and you’ll find yourself in a buzzing graffitied bar that gives way to an expansive dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Open 24hrs, Duck and Waffle has a pretty comprehensive menu to cater to both day and nighttime cravings, but make sure to sample their signature dish – it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Smack bang on the banks of the Thames, just across from the capital’s busy Charing Cross station, sits an award-winning tower with stunning views up and down the river. Perfect cityscapes and great food are all part of the Oxo Tower experience, and if you’re into design, why not take a stroll down to the design studios, also housed within the tower. The formal restaurant offers up an elegant dining room with wonderful views – especially from the outdoor terrace – and a classic menu of delicious, beautifully prepared dishes.
Paramount, Centre Point
This place is worth the ascent if you’re out to impress your dinner date. The 360° views from the gallery space make it well worth the pilgrimage, and that’s before you’ve sampled the food. A mid-afternoon visit is recommended, as this is the only place in London where you can experience and enjoy high tea from literally sky-high heights. The spread includes an interesting take on afternoon tea classics, so guests can fill up on gourmet sandwiches and decadent sweet treats. The custom-made copper bar, designed by Tom Dixon, is also something of a focal point and offers the perfect rooftop setting for pre- or post-dinner drinks.
Searcys, The Gherkin
Another venue that delivers spectacular views is Searcys in London’s Gherkin building. Take a 360° tour 180 metres above the ground and prepare to be dazzled. As well as the vistas, you can expect impeccable food created by Executive Chef Arnaud Stevens, who previously cut his teeth with notable chefs Pierre Koffman and Jason Atherton. A great location for business lunches due to its sophisticated ambiance and smart, attentive staff, Searcy has established itself as a monument to modern British cuisine.
Quartier Restaurant, Eight Club
Minutes from Liverpool Street station, the Eight Club is a member’s lounge, library and restaurant, all housed under one very stylish roof. The first floor Quartier Restaurant looks out over the city, offering expansive views of one of London’s busiest corners. At the helm in the kitchen is Executive Chef Ilya Fattakhov, who serves up refinement on a plate creating dishes (almost) too pretty to eat. Once you’re sufficiently fed and watered why not take coffee on the wraparound outdoor terrace and enjoy the thrilling hum of the streets below.
Header image © London skyline - QQ7/iStock/Thinkstock
Have you been to any London skyscraper restaurants? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.
Written by Chantelle Symester
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About the author: ChantelleChantelle Symester
Chantelle Symester is a writer and editor based in London. When she’s not chained to her laptop working she can be found hopping on a plane to far flung places across the globe. Trips so far include adventures to Mexico, South America and North Africa and she now has her heart set on discovering the East. You can find her @csymester