London’s Best High-up Restaurants | Cillian O’Connor
London’s food scene has gone sky high. Long known for its tremendous size, but not necessarily its skyline, the capital city and its spate of new skyscrapers have become home to some of the world’s most impressive venues for dining at altitude. At more than 20 floors up, these exclusive eateries combine outstanding (in some cases Michelin-starred) gastronomic fare with panoramic views to offer a dining experience you won’t forget. (Those with vertigo, however, might want to look away now…)
Like or lump the Shard, the latest cloud-piercing addition to London’s skyline, there’s little to hate about what lies on its 33rd floor. In fact, one could argue that Hutong – the London-based sister restaurant to the famed Hong Kong eatery of the same name – is good enough to appease even the most ardent of the Shard’s detractors.
Opened in 2013, the restaurant takes its cue from fiery Northern Chinese cuisine, with head chef Bing Luo serving up a more refined spin on culinary staples like crispy soft-shell crab with Sichuan dried chilli and roasted Peking duck (which, for your information, comes complete with tableside carving, and splinters perfectly into crispy shards of caramelised deliciousness).
There’s a cocktail selection inspired by ingredients used in traditional Chinese medicine too, which, we like to think, can only make them good for you.
Duck & Waffle
Perhaps it’s no surprise that London’s highest restaurant is also the one plagued with selfie-taking tourists. Perched on the 40th floor of the City’s Heron Tower, Duck & Waffle is frequented largely by a clientele that take the time to Instagram their food before tucking into it.
But as annoying as that is, it’s not quite annoying enough to stymie the enjoyment to be had from this restaurant’s swathe of gutsy gastronomic delights, all designed to be shared and many – uniquely – to be eaten with your fingers.
On the menu, conceived by chef director Daniel Doherty, is BBQ-spiced crispy pig ears and ox cheek doughnut with apricot jam dredged in smoked paprika sugar, what’s surely one of London’s best roast chickens served with Ratte potatoes, wild mushrooms and truffles and, of course, the eponymous duck and waffle.
It’s also open 24-7, so you can pop in whenever you’re feeling peckish.
Galvin at Windows
Out west, on the 28th floor of the Hilton Park Lane in Mayfair, Galvin at Windows plates up some of London’s finest contemporary French haute cuisine. Opened in 2006 by brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin, this Mayfair landmark might not have the flashiness of some of its more modern counterparts, but what it lacks in glamour, it more than makes up for in mouthwateringly delicious food.
In fact, so celebrated is Galvin at Windows’ grub that it’s managed to maintain a Michelin star every year since 2009 – no mean feat, and thanks in no small part to head chef Jon Woo, the talented man at its helm.