I lament a café or restaurant attached to a tourist attraction or destination location that appears to be an afterthought.  A sweaty panini or something equally miserable is never a good way to start or finish anything, especially if that anything is good.

The Sky Garden, found in the Fenchurch Building, aka the walkie talkie, beckons Londoners and visitors alike, luring the crowds in with its expansive views across the top of the City, past St Paul’s and beyond the Thames. As far as London views go, it is an iconic one, and hard to beat.

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With a view so good and no shortage of people wanting to see it, it would be easy for the Sky Garden’s dining spot, the Fenchurch Restaurant, to let the cityscape do its grafting, however, thankfully, this is not the case. In fact, as my friend Chris gushed repeatedly throughout the evening, dinner here, swathed in views of the capital, is “such an experience”.

The Resident: The restaurant offers unparalleled views across the CityThe restaurant offers unparalleled views across the City (Image: Lateef Photography)

Found 37 floors up, Fenchurch Restaurant is a snug enclosure, nestled among the constantly heaving garden, away from the riff raff yet overlooking it. It is a place to watch the garden’s ongoings below and the view beyond – and if you time it right, a sunset – over a five-course tasting menu, some dishes ordered a la carte or just a cocktail at the bar.

The restaurant’s interiors are smart but play second fiddle to the vista which streams into the restaurant from three different sides thanks to clear glass walls.

The kitchen is headed up by Kerth Gumbs, a chef who brings his Anguillan heritage into the kitchen to create European dishes flavoured with hints of the Caribbean.

The Resident: The tasting menu starts with a selection of snacksThe tasting menu starts with a selection of snacks (Image: Lateef Photography)

We went for the five-course tasting menu, one vegetarian, one regular, both inventive, full of comfort yet flamboyant not homely, served with a healthy dose of theatrics.

We had intended to pair our meal with cocktails, so we could live our best basic lives, however decided to try the wine at the polite yet insistent behest of our waitress, and she wasn’t wrong to suggest it. While I loved the idea of lining up my cocktails, the wine pairings were considered and well-matched at every pour.

The tasting menus were mirrors of each other, both flavour laden and hefty with straight forward swaps throughout – the vegetarian version didn’t pale in any way, basically.

It started with an array of snacks. The soft, bite-sized taco filled with lightly spiced beetroot had a pleasing crunch, while the log of a mac n cheese croquette that came with cheese shavings on top was a comforting indulgence, as was the layered square of crispy fried sweet potato which was some kind of crisp-dauphinoise hybrid thing, and delicious.

The Resident: The show-stopping fungi and salted broccoli dishThe show-stopping fungi and salted broccoli dish (Image: Lateef Photography)

These were served along with a Johnny cake – a dish new to me - which was a bread roll, sitting in a smear of orange scotch bonnet mayonnaise and stuffed with courgette and cheddar for me, and a fishy crab and roe combination for Chris.

The showstopping fungi and salt broccoli (a punchy, fishier version across the table) drew admiration and curiosity from nearby diners.

It arrived in two glass dishes, one filled with crunchy steamed broccoli and assorted veg, and the other containing a light yet richly spiced tomatoey broth, stacked on top of each other and at the bottom end of a glass funnel contraption which has aromatic dried grass and flowers poking out the top. If I’m going to paint a clear picture, the contraption was not dissimilar in shape to some kind of advanced-level bong, and similarly again, billowed out mildly fragrance plumes of smoke once our waitress poured the finishing touch in.

The Resident: The soursop ice lolly and whiskey gummy bear was a standout courseThe soursop ice lolly and whiskey gummy bear was a standout course (Image: Lateef Photography)

The roasted cauliflower was my highlight dish and showcased the brassicas’ versatility. The vegetable arrived tender and golden brown with an umami cauliflower puree drizzled on top, brightened with splodges of a vivid green piquant sauce.

This was followed by a nut bbq miataki which was something between a nut roast and a Wellington with hints of sharp tamarind through it and every bit as warming as a Sunday roast.

Perhaps not technically a meal, the palate cleansing soursop ice lolly was another stand out – refreshing and tart – and the whiskey flavoured gummy bear was a Blumenthal-esque confusion, which is to say, completely unexpected and discombobulating, but not unenjoyable at all.

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The meal was finished off with a conkie dumpling inspired Le Ducana cake – an Antiguan dessert made with sweet potato. The moist and unexpectedly light cake came with a simple salted milk ice-cream so morish I could have eaten the kitchen’s entire stock of it.

So, sure, go to the Sky Garden for the view, but visit Fenchurch Restaurant for the experience.

Address: Level 37, Sky Garden Walk, Fenchurch Building, Fenchurch Street EC3M 8AF

Website: skygarden.london