This was the view last Friday.
Welcome to the Sky Garden, ladies and gentlemen.
It’s a newly-opened space up on the 35th floor of the Walkie-Talkie building across from the Shard on the North Bank.
For those unfamiliar with London’s landscape, the building was famous a little while ago for melting nearby cars and heating up shops due to its top-heavy structure that bent and concentrated sunlight at a specific spot on the ground.
After much renovation, it now no longer poses a magnify-glass-threat, and instead stands with one of the best 360 degree perspectives on the city of London and beyond.
The rush to reserve the free visitor passes began a few weeks ago, and I was fortunate enough to grab two of them.
After having our bags and bodies scanned, my water bottle was detained and never to be heard from again. The tragic loss left me looking for a remedy, which is exactly what I got when the elevator doors pinged open on the 35th floor to this.
Two sets of glass doors lent itself to a beautiful space, holding a cafe/bar, the Sky Pod, in the middle. It is framed on both sides by the “garden” with two staircases leading up to the back, where a close-up-and-personal view of the Gherkin and the Cheese Grater stood before me.
Here, I met a further few steps up to the most expensive restaurant the Sky Garden holds: Frenchurch. The one underneath it, Darwin, is a more affordable brasserie option for those of us with near-empty bank accounts.
The different levels of the three establishments seem to correspond to their price range.
My friend and I entered this magnificent haven at 2:45pm. Half an hour of walking around, gawking and drooling at every angle and item there was, and we finally settled down enough to each order a giant cookie and a warm drink for high tea. Get it? Get the pun?
It took us a good part of an hour to nibble through those pizza-sized goodies. By 4pm, exhausted from our efforts to eat through macadamia nuts and chocolate chips, it was time for the reward of a fancy cocktail.
Most cocktails stand at 11.50 pounds. They came with edible flowers, “edible”. I couldn’t eat it. I could barely chew it. But it nevertheless added a beautiful touch a delicious mix, every bit as deserving as their beautiful names: “Chelsea Garden” and “Princess Jasmine”.
Day turned into night, and our drinks disappeared along with the sun.
The sun then gave way to a quick rainstorm, in good ol’ fashion London style.
Even in the dreary grey, I was still in love with this place. Now if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.
Like the cool, mysterious, handsome guy at a party, the rain rolled it and rolled out, leaving behind a marvellous trail of colours and light, and two wonderstruck girls.
“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
Well said, Samuel Johnson. Well said indeed, sir.