The Handbook
The Handbook

The Gherkin, it’s everyone’s secret favourite sky-high building, maybe it’s because its shape can still cause sniggers from the crude minded between us, or maybe it’s because we have named one of our iconic buildings after a salty vegetable.

Sure it’s had competition from the ridiculous shape of the Walkie Talkie and the cool Shard, (you’d know the Shard would have been the popular one at school) but now it is reasserting its self as it opens a new dining and bar concept – the Helix restaurant and Iris bar which opens to the public on the 13th July.

Daniel Loftin (previously head chef at Royal House London and Peninsula Restaurant) will take up the role of Executive Chef at Helix, putting seasonal and local produce at its centre. Salmon will come directly from John Ross Jr, holders of the Queen’s warrant in Scotland, fruit and vegetables are all sourced from the UK and meat comes locally from some of the UK’s finest farms. Highlights include English green asparagus with Dorset crab, grapefruit, soy and sesame and Rhug Estate Welsh lamb with bell peppers, aubergine, courgette, peppers and pine nuts.

In a first for the Gherkin, they’ll be saying goodbye to their members-only club and making it Iris, a bar open to the public, hurrah. Cue, hordes running there post-work, with a booking of course otherwise the queue would be miles long. It’s a new sky-high spot where we can drink English sparkling wine and cocktails like The Little White Bird inspired by Kensington Gardens with its associations with Peter Pan made with violet liqueur, vanilla, vodka, lychee, elderflower, lemon and English sparkling wine. Or for something less innocent, go for the Jack the Ripper. A dark twist on the Bloody Mary it’s made from Mediterranean herbs vodka, beetroot juice, tomato, lemon, Worcester sauce and Mexican sauce.

And the name? Well, who’d have thought it, but the Gherkin wasn’t actually built to be like a gherkin. The restaurant is named after the helix shape and Iris comes from the fact that architect Norman Foster actually built it to look like an iris when viewed from above to reflect its place as the eye over the city.

Helix and Iris open at 30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP on the 13th July 2018