Reviewed: The Egg-cellent Champagne breakfast at Searcys at the Gherkin
How do you like, your eggs in the morning? I like mine with a view
What do you usually have for breakfast? I usually play it pretty safe… I’ll either have granola and yogurt, apple and peanut butter (a great combination by the way), or if I’m feeling fancy, maybe avocado on toast at the weekend. I am a basic millennial who can’t afford a house after all.
But I also love going out for breakfast. It feels indulgent, a bit fancy and I’d go as far to say, more special than going out for dinner.
That rings even more true if you can enjoy your breakfast in one of the most iconic buildings in London. *Cue Prokofiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’ aka 'The Apprentice music'*. The Gherkin (or the Cucumber London, London Egg or London Pickle as it’s apparently also known!) is home to a Searcys restaurant, right at the top.
Some fun facts, fact fans. My boss (who I took along with me for brownie points *hi Tim*), tells me that despite the Gherkin’s gherkin-like shape, the lens at the very top is the only piece of curved glass used.
What Tim didn’t tell me was that there are 18 passenger lifts travelling at mind-bending speeds of up to 20 feet per second – that explains my ears popping on the way up. And there are 1,037 steps in each of the Gherkin’s stairwells. Oh, and the whole thing weighs 10,000 tonnes in total.
With security, and many lifts, it does take a little while to get in, but once you’re there, you feel a nice sense of achievement, and a real thirst for a glass of fizz.
And I said, what about, breakfast at Searcys
When the Gherkin was built in 2004, it was one of the tallest skyscrapers on the London skyline. Now, it looks quite small in comparison to some of the giants that have sprung up around it. But when you’re at the top, the vistas are impressive.
There’s an amazing view of Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and currently, Kismet, a 95-metre superyacht owned by Shadid Khan, a billionaire and business tycoon who owns Fulham FC and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Apparently he parked it up there in October and it’s been there ever since (yours to rent for a cool $1.2m a week over winter in Caribbean waters, just fyi).
Back to the important matter of breakfast. The menu covers everything from classic dishes like Eggs Benedict, Florentine or Arlington (£8-14); a full English (£14); granola, berries and yogurt (£8); or homemade waffles with hedgerow berry compote and sweet cream (£6.50). The decision was not an easy one, but being a true professional, I opted for the signature dish.
Searcys at the Gherkin signature Champagne Breakfast dish
You might think a combination of soda bread, smashed avocado, sherry-smoked salmon, Hollandaise sauce and keta (salmon) caviar might be a bit much for breakfast… I may have thought that for a second or two, but after the first bite, I was completely sold. This is a great dish.
The base of the firm but not heavy or dense soda bread, those all-important oozy eggs that would make or break the dish, lightly smoked salmon (which wasn’t remotely slimy), the perfectly-judged amount of avocado giving a creamy richness. And it's all topped with the deep, lemony butteriness of Hollandaise, and little fishy fireworks every so often from the caviar. It’s indulgent, it’s fancy, and it’s the perfect festive breakfast. That’s executive chef Shaun Rowland’s signature dish, and it’s £14, or £19.50 with a glass of fizz.
Breakfast Champagne is the best kind of Champagne
And do you know what makes it even more indulgent? Pairing that dish with a tasting trio of Laurent Perrier Champagne. The breakfast is in partnership with the iconic Champagne house, after all. For £39, the tasting trio gets you three 75ml glasses (so restrained) of the Cuvée Rosé, La Cuvée and Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature. The Blanc de Blancs is a new release from the Champagne house this year, and it’s the first zero dosage Grand Marque Blanc de Blancs. That means, in very simple terms, that there’s no extra sugar added. The result is a deliciously crisp, dry wine with notes of apples, grapefruit and soft florals.
Or if you’re Tim, who doesn’t particularly enjoy breakfast or Champagne (although I think I’m turning him!), you can make it up as you go along. Tim went off-piste and ordered sausage, bacon and beans, with some toast, and yogurt and berries. Apparently it was all delicious, and he loved the fizz. Bonus point to Laurent Perrier’s La Cuvée.
That’s what I really liked about Searcys at the Gherkin. You can go all out, indulge, have several glasses of Champagne, or you can pop along, enjoy the view, and have a casual, light breakfast (still with at least one glass of Champagne of course… this is a Champagne breakfast after all!), before enjoying the rest of your day.
Or in my case... heading back to the office!