Food & Drink Life

Counter Dining at its Best: 37 Fenchurch

  • June 30, 2024
  • 3 min read
Counter Dining at its Best: 37 Fenchurch

As a veteran of the City of London, I’ve seen the fast-moving dining trends develop over the years, from steak and kidney pudding in the traditional setting of Simpson’s, to rotating convey belts at Yo! Sushi. The latest cutting-edge counter dining trend, is now the highest form of bar food from a fusion of Caribbean heritage. The best proponents of this are at the rooftop restaurant of the Sky Garden at 37 Fenchurch. With resident chef Kerth Gumbs, known for his dashing bowler hat, he crafts a tapas-style menu that perfectly complements the somellier’s exquisite cocktail selection. Perched on a comfortable bar stool, you have a sweeping panorama of London, looking south across the river over the Tower of London and Southbank to Westminster, while never losing sight of the bar. It is perfect for a business meeting or just engaging with the diners on your left and right as we all jostle for the delicious and, may I say, very reasonably priced Caribbean tapas.

In full view of Chef Kerth Gumbs as he skillfully plates each dish, the menu arrives with a flourish.

Straight off the bat, the oysters with cucumber and sea salt (£12) are the best I’ve ever tasted. I could wax lyrical about the sea, the freshness, the plumper the better. But, I can say no more than they were the best!

A side of the plantain, fried with maple syrup, takes you in a completely different direction (£6) and accompany the cured jerked salmon ceviche to perfection (£22). Take a little time to clear your palate with the “Sparkling Tea” alcohol-free wine (£10 a glass) before diving straight into the blackened cod with orange honey and pickled seaweed and radish (£22). The tour de force of this bar extravaganza is the spiced lamb with coriander, honey, and apricots (£22). An eclectic selection of sides allows you to bulk up with tender stem broccoli and almonds (£6) or chilli and sweet potato fries (£6). All you will ever need.

The wine selection is both excellent and extensive, perfectly complementing the restaurant’s offerings. You are at the bar, and with the guidance of the gifted sommelier, the world is your drinking oyster (did I mention the oysters are superb?). I recommend the Rum Soel at £18—perfect.

Always, and I say this with passion, make time and room for the pudding. A meal is never truly complete without it. 37 Fenchurch doesn’t disappoint. The care and attention lavished on its signature pudding dish ‘The Fenchurch Bar’ is worth the climb to the rooftop alone. A caramel creation worthy of Wonka himself (£14.50). If caramel and chocolate are not for you, who can resist an Eton Mess (£14)?

Even the slight inconsistency of the airport-style security at the base of the tower block on which the Sky Garden sits, or the stylish cocktail lounge that inhabits the palm trees at the top of this London world, cannot dampen the unbridled joy of the food as you sit atop it all watching a London sunset over St. Paul’s from above. A real joy of a place is 37 Fenchurch.

About Author

Philip Ashby Rudd

Philip Ashby Rudd, a Dorset-based writer, artist, and hotelier, boasts a colorful past. After rubbing shoulders with Damien Hirst at Goldsmiths College, he took a brief detour as an army officer—albeit a short-lived one, thanks to a memorable encounter involving a taser and one too many drinks. Under the tutelage of Raymond Blanc, he honed his culinary skills before acquiring Bishops Cottage, a hotel in Lulworth Cove, once home to Bishop Wordsworth, the poet's great-nephew. Where he once spent his days channeling the spirit of Jeffrey Barnard, he now critiques restaurants for EyeOnLondon, a venture he co-founded.

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