When it comes to London we’re oh so accustomed to eclectic eateries in far-flung spaces, and Sunborn London certainly nuzzled into the latter. The Land’s End restaurant, housed on a dazzling moored ship located in Royal Victoria Dock, comes equipped with romantic city views, with Emirates Air Line cable car, Canary Wharf and the O2 Arena etched into the sultry skyline.
Entry into the venue itself is somewhat spy-like; journeying into an elevator from an unsuspecting doorway takes you up to a reception area that boasts a centrepiece chandelier and curling carpeted stairways. The floating sanctuary, despite being spellbinding, was actually created to offer destinations with limited development space an additional 100-200 bedrooms, but on this occasion we were there to try the fodder, of which Chef Paul Hegley is now at the helm.
Hegley, previously of two Michelin star The Vineyard, plates up culinary must-haves and, since joining, declared an ambition to “create seasonal British produce where provenance is at the heart of everything.” In hot anticipation we sat by vast windows, overlooking a bustling London whilst watching the sun dance between blood reds, oranges and blues.
True to form, and perhaps foreshadowing summer months a little earlier than expected, our culinary journey set sail with an Aperol Spritz; the perfect tipple to whet the whistle. Bread quickly arrived at the table, followed by a delightful celeriac velouté paired with green apple. Delicious! The heavily British menu tiptoes between fish delicacies of hand dived scallops and cured Cornish mackerel, and meat pleasers including Salt Mash lamb rump and Suffolk pork belly, amongst a handful of vegetarian dishes that make for a swift departure from the risotto norm.
To start, the scallops got top pick. They were absolutely gorgeous. Nothing beats a meaty scallop and it was cooked delightfully with cauliflower, grape and caper accompaniment. After beginning with a fishy dish, I opted for the Suffolk pork belly with celeriac and potato dauphinoise, burnt apple and young vegetables. Again, this rich and flavoursome dish hit every tastebud in a delightful fashion with velvety pork making for a nice partner to the bursting burnt apple flavour. Dishes were enjoyed to the sun slowly setting, casting a dark sky over the waters – and calling for an aptly-timed sundowner!
Irish coffee in hand we wandered outside to soak up London by night in an area that would make for an ideal space during al-fresco dining season. The dessert menu, which I recommend you dabble in, includes nostalgic highlights of sticky toffee pudding, cheeseboards and chocolate tart, making for a simply sweet end to the evening.
The entirety of the Land’s End experience was a fantastic one, my only slight criticism lying with the somewhat dated interiors found inside. The 120 metre length yacht shines sublimely on the exterior, yet inside I found the vibe to one of a slightly tired ship. City views were splendid and made for a sultry setting but white table cloths amongst other “old school” embellishments allowed parts of the restaurant to dim in comparison to charming features such as the chandelier. Would I return though? In a heart beat; food, setting and unique dining experience due to venue being the forward forces behind this verdict. Which leaves little else to say but make sure you anchor up at this London venue sometime soon for an ever so unique dining experience.
Land’s End restaurant can be found in the Sunborn Hotel at Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL, www.sunbornhotels.com