I have recently felt so underwhelmed by London and its’ food scene, so when it was my bestie’s birthday I knew I had to pull it out of the bag to 1) make it special for my girl but also 2) restore my faith in London. So I picked Sky Garden.. it’s one place that has always transformed me to somewhere else.. I’m not quite sure where but somewhere exotic and it was the perfect weather to be transported.
I booked online requesting halal options and also specifying my friends birthday. Just to be sure I called beforehand to make sure nothing was missed (because that’s the person I am). I then reminded them of her name and birthday message when I arrived at the restaurant.
The brunch was a 3-course set menu for £39.95 which isn’t bad if the food is on point…
I got the burrata with tomato salad, which was actually really refreshing even though it was just a bit of cheese with tomatoes.
We were asked to order our mains with starters, so I ordered the chicken (which was the only halal dish on the menu), my friends ordered the risotto and sea bream. Annoying service qualm number 1 – they brought out the starters and the mains together – not sure how they expected us to eat them altogether or how they were going to fit their massive plates on this small table – there was no thought put in it by the waiters, no common sense was used that day! We sent the food back and asked for us to eat our starters first.
We eventually got to mains and the drama unfolded…
So my chicken came in a bed of pea sauce which was lovely, although there was so little of it and once that was gone, the chicken was so dry it was almost inedible, I was desperate for some more sauce but failing that I left most of the dish uneaten!
Friend #1’s sea bream was really good and she thoroughly enjoyed it (which it seems was one of the few enjoyable moments of the afternoon).
However, Friend #2 went blue in the face for 10 seconds as she found a hair in her risotto. Because the service was so slow, she had to take her plate to one of the waiters to tell them what she’d found. They eventually gave her a new plate and the manager came over apologising, etc. For a second I was about to lose it as she asked my friend what colour the hair was!!
For dessert I got the Panna cotta. It was fresh, light and overall I really enjoyed it.
Now we waited for a while for my friends birthday greeting to come out.. our desserts were served with no greeting. They eventually brought out the greeting whilst we were mid dessert and plonked it in the middle of the table! I almost had to do a double take to see if the waiter was feeling okay at this point! My fury then increased as I noticed that despite telling them several times, spelling out her name and even writing it down before the dessert came out, her name was not on the dessert!!! I was a little (read – a lot) fuming!
Not that I would have paid it anyways, but they did take off the service charge, didn’t charge us for the risotto and gave us 10% off the bill.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Darwin at all! Yes it’s a really pretty setting but the food was not worth it, the service was borderline atrocious, frustrating, unprofessional (bar the manager), most of them didn’t understand English or a simple instruction about a birthday cake – it’s not rocket science! So, maybe I’ll give Darwin a miss next time and try Fenchurch Restaurant instead. I’ve heard the service there is really good.
Food – 3 out of 10
Service – 1 out of 10
Atmosphere – 6 out of 10
Experience – 2 out of 10
Overall, giving Darwin Brasserie a total TLH score of 3 out of 10.
Address: Sky Garden, 20 Phillpot Lane, London, EC3M 8AF
Halal Status: Only 1 item of chicken on the menu is halal, alcohol is served.
I’m hoping they were having a bad day, have you been and had a better experience? I’d love to hear from you!