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Every week, we handpick a standout restaurant to review and feature. On a mission to wade our way through all the eclectic cuisines on offer in London, we checked out One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, headed up by Ross Bott.
Situated in the land of skyscrapers filled with bustling bankers sits One Canada Square, the restaurant and cocktail bar with an address to be reckoned with. On the ground floor lobby of one of the tallest buildings in the UK, One Canada Square is a place to kick back after a long day of deals and meetings. One Canada Square offers brasserie-style cuisine made with the seasonal, home-grown produce that ETM Group are fully devoted to. At the helm of the kitchen is Ross Bott, who previously worked with Pierre Koffmann at the 3 Michelin Star restaurant La Tante Claire.
Designed by the elegance-led David Collins Studio, the large space is open, grand and strikes a balance between resplendent and sophisticated through an art deco vibe. It was so successful in achieving agrandiose space that distinguishes itself as a separate entity from the light-filled lobby that One Canada Square won Best Restaurant/Bar in a Retail Space in the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in 2014. Marble and leather pervades the 60-cover restaurant and in the middle, a criss-cross staircase leads up to the 34-cover Mezzanine.
Service, contrary to the hectic nature of Canary Wharf, is attentive and considered. From the moment your coats are handed in, you are ushered to a table and informed of the specials. Due to the fact that the menu revolves around seasonal ingredients, your server will explain if anything might not be available on that day. Luckily for us, the langoustines were. You are guided through the varying flavours in every dish, and appropriately advised about wine pairings.
Choices, choices! With an extensive wine list filled with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties alongside a cocktail menu with delicious creations made with rare and premium spirits such as William Laure Weller bourbon, the choices are endless. We recommend starting off with a cocktail whilst perusing the menu, perhaps even sitting in the sleek bar area to enjoy the atmosphere whilst sipping. Upon choosing your dishes, you will be led in the right direction with your wine options. We opted for the Chianti Classico – a personal favourite that was poured into a carafe to breathe. The verdict? It was fabulous and most certainly did its job.
British-sourced meats and seafood are fresh from Billingsgate Market, resulting in an array of starters that titillate the taste buds and prepare you for the meal to come. A sucker for a good Steak Tartare, we opted for the exquisitely presented dish topped with a brightly coloured, tantalising yolk resting on top. Nothing is more enjoyable than popping the yolk and melding it with the sour yet rich flavours of raw beef, onions and Worcestershire sauce. Gluttons for punishment, we also ordered the langoustines in their shells. You end up with small amounts of soft, delicate white meat which is entirely worth the fuss, especially when enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of mayonnaise.
The star of the show at One Canada Square is fish, as it takes up the majority of the options. Choosing from sea bass, lemon sole, cod and salmon and smoked haddock fishcakes, we opted for the Peterhead cod, purple sprouting broccoli, brown shrimp and pearl barley dish. Wonderfully balanced across the plate, each element complemented the other and mixed pleasantly in every bite. The squid-ink linguini, however, failed to impress with its overbearing smoky taste. On our next visit we plan to explore the injections of Asian influence and opt for the king scallop and shrimp burger with Thai slaw and chips. The hefty Chateaubriand for two sounds equally as tempting, if executed to perfection of course.
There’s nothing like a good, classic sticky toffee pudding with no frills. Soaked in a decadent toffee sauce, the generous cake comes with a big scoop of cornflake ice cream – basically vanilla with a slight nutty undertone. The blackberry crème brûlée was refreshing; creamy with a hit of fruity, bold blackberry that is scooped up from underneath; a perfectly sweet ending to the meal. To cater to the many health-conscious folks, the dessert menu also features banana and chia seed cake with chestnuts and pear sorbet, and a bitter chocolate and acai mousse with goji berries and pistachio crumble. Intriguing, but when we opt for a dessert, we like to go all-out!
It it unlikely that you might venture to One Canada Square if you’re not a Canary Wharf-ite, but if you are — or know someone who is — then it’s worth a meal and a bottle of wine. Be sure to choose a special, as it is guaranteed to be fresh and seasonal, and opt for a fish dish for your main course. Fish is one thing that One Canada Square do not falter on in any way. End with sticky toffee or acai mousse; the choice is yours and, for us, an easy one to make.