"Perched above the rooftops of London in one of the city’s most iconic skyscrapers"Review Rating: Reviewed by Laurel
Helix is the latest incarnation of Searcy’s at The Gherkin, though having not visited its predeces-sor it’s impossible to draw comparison between the two.
Given its location, perched above the rooftops of London on the 39th floor one of the city’s most iconic skyscrapers, it’s no surprise that if you walk in off the street wanting a table you’ll likely be rejected. The dining room is smaller than expected and, surrounded as you are by glass and even less than minimal decor, be prepared for it to be noisy. If you’re a fan of a quiet, cosy, romantic supper this isn’t for you - it felt more akin to being in a school canteen with the noise - however what it lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up for with the view.
Watching the blazing summer sun set on what turned out to be just another thirty two degree day in our blissful summer of fire, we couldn’t help but be dazzled. Book as far in advance as you can and you’ll be rewarded with a table by the window, where you can while away your dinner time gazing out at the toy cars and ant people busying themselves on the streets below. London is in-credible enough from the ground, but from 39 floors up she takes on a whole different dimension.
Given the not insignificant prices on the menu, it has to be said that our meal was somewhat un-derwhelming; I’d even go so far as to say you’re paying for the view, rather than the food. A start-er of English asparagus with Dorset crab should have been delicious, but the odd addition of soy sauce and sesame was an overwhelming flavour that didn’t complement the simplicity of a clas-sic. The burrata mozzarella with heritage tomato, basil puree and crumb of black olives was a tastier combination, but the slightly insipid tomatoes didn’t really do the burrata justice.
The mains fare similarly; the line-caught wild bass with octopus and sea vegetables perfectly pleasant but somewhat bland, lacking in much flavour or seasoning, while the Rhug Estate Welsh lamb with bell pepper, aubergine, courgette and feta arrived with both a Moroccan style sauce and a red wine sauce, a confusing combination, the former of which seemed to own the dish, be-littling any other taste.
Our puddings comprised a plate from a rather impressive trolley of British cheeses, including a favourite Black Bomber cheddar and a rather special Ashlynn goat’s cheese - certainly the num-ber one course - and a delicately flavoured coconut mousse with (the merest hint of) rum, white chocolate, mango and passion fruit.
Given the hefty price tag - mains were £32 and £26 respectively - we had expected to have our socks blown off by our dinner in the sky but, while not an unpleasant meal, Helix just didn’t quite live up to expectations. Hit the Iris bar upstairs, however, and you’ll find a different kind of vibe; a cosy buzz, a stellar cocktail list and, most importantly, a menu of nibbles - including that all-important trolley. Given the choice again I’d head up there to spend my pennies and watch the sun set with a gin and tonic and a plate of cheese.
Laurel reviewed Helix Bar on Mon 01 Oct 2018