Despite never having been inside, I've always rather loved the Gherkin. I mean, c'mon. It's a gherkin. Which is hilarious.
So when I was invited to go up to the very very top of the London landmark for an evening of cocktails and food amongst the clouds, I was mad excited.
Searcys the Gherkin is the bar in the very top of the building, and this summer they've partnered with Tanqueray No. 10 gin to bring a touch of the South of France to London.
I know, evidently Londoners can't get enough of Provence at the mo (remember this rooftop dinner and this tasty one too?).
So, 180 metres up we climbed - and when I say climbed I mean stood in a lift - before emerging to a scene straight out of 1950s South of France.
Well, kinda. I wasn't actually there then so wouldn't know. And I mean, this was 2016 London. But I loved all the little touches at the Summer Sky Riviera - think striped sun loungers, palm trees and a market stall, all in a glamorous, chic and elegant way, natch.
I didn't think I could possibly fall in love with London any more, but the 360 degree views over the city that evening absolutely did it for me. I can't even.
And I also loved the fact that you could see up to the sky - it really felt like we were at the top of the world.
There are four different cocktails on offer at the Summer Sky Riviera, each inspired by a different city in the Côte d'Azur.
Lucy and I kicked things off with the Nice (Tanqueray No 10, aperol, orange blossom and bergamot) and the Saint Tropez (Tanqueray No 10, rose liqueur, sweet vermouth, rose water and grapefruit). I had the Saint Tropez, Lucy had the Nice, and I quote: "It's refreshing and light but strong... Perfect for a Friday evening up the Gherkin." As one does.
I always associate gin with being a British drink, but the flavours of these cocktails meant they definitely seemed more exotic and were perfect for the vibe. So tasty and refreshing.
Whilst not a formal restaurant, there are lots of different nibbly food bits on offer at Summer Sky Riviera. So, here's what we ate...
Charcuterie and pâté, complete with gherkins! Not going to lie, I thought eating a gherkin in the Gherkin was pretty damn cool. Probably got a bit too excited about it. Whilst I don't go mad for charcuterie, Lucy thought they were all fab.
What with the whole French theme and everything, there was of course cheese with chutney and crackers.
And then I had crudités, chilli olives and fougasse (basically olive bread I think) with four different dips: anchoïade (a classic Provençal anchovy dip), pesto, cervelle de canut (a garlicky herby fromage blanc affair) and tapenade.
I liked the variation of veggies in the crudités, but they were nothing super special. But then again, how special can crudités ever be? Dips-wise, the pesto and cervelle de canut were my faves, and I know it's so not French but I couldn't help thinking I wanted houmous. Because what are crudités sans houmous?
The fougasse was chewy but I really liked it. And OMG, there was so much bread in the whole spread tbh. I particularly liked the sourdough with the tastiest whipped butter.
We nibbled and chatted as the sun went down - when we'd arrived, London was bathed in that incredibly warm evening sunlight, and we watched the city turn into the twinkly wonderland I so love.
God, you have no idea how lucky I feel to live here. OK, well not actually right there. But you know, close enough.
And because I am a very dutiful blogger, I figured it was my responsibility to my readers to sample the other two cocktails on the menu. Just doing my job. Working real hard. Selfless, I know.
Lucy chose the Marseille, which was Tanqueray No 10, pastis, verveine and cucumber.
It looked super pretty, but we weren't expecting it to be a slushy, and with the paper straw, it wasn't actually the easiest to drink. Tasty though.
I went for the Vaucluse, a delicious mix of Tanqueray No 10 (what a surprise eh?), lavender cordial and vin d'occitan.
As a big lavender fan, I really enjoyed this one, but was originally brought the wrong one so had to wait quite a while to finally get it unfortunately. To be honest, I think they could've done with a few more staff members overall, especially on a busy Friday evening. The service was a tad slow.
But of course, we were in absolutely no rush. I just couldn't get enough of that view and Lucy and I were having a ball spotting new places in the city below and marvelling at where we were.
And d'you know what's amazing? The prices aren't obscene either. £11 for a cocktail is pretty standard for a nice London bar... On the ground. I thought there'd be a huge premium on everything given the incredible setting, but no.
I am soooooooo going again. It was fantastic. Loved it. Without a doubt one of the most awesome and special things I've done since moving to London.
Summer Sky Riviera is on till 2nd September, folks - go go go!
Lucy and I were guests at Searcys the Gherkin.