On a recent Friday night in July, we headed down to One Canada Square Restaurant & Bar
to try out their Friday 'After Dark' menu. Already popular on Saturdays, the concept - that you can come in at the end of the working week and enjoy fine dining and unlimited booze for the fixed price of £45 or £50 - sounded excellent, and definitely a good value option for dining on the Wharf.
The Canary Wharf skyscraper, One Canada Square, was completed in 1991 and its interiors, as well as those of the bar and restaurant inside it, are very much in-keeping with the sleek, late 80s, financial feel.
The restaurant itself is in a sort of glass, cordoned-off section of the building's vast ground floor, looking out onto both the building's interiors and the rest of Canary Wharf outside. As you go in you are greeted first by the plush bar area, with a double staircase that leads to a more expansive bar room upstairs. Lavish leather booths and bar stools, textured glass backdrops and bright, vintage-feel lighting define One Canada Square's look - a nod to its financial district location and late twentieth-century design.
Sleek, glossy interiors, marble-effect walls and large glass windows overlooking Canary Wharf create a spacious, classic feel.
Food & Drinks
Drinks wise, we started on the prosecco before later changing to the house red and white wines - both very good, and beer is also an option. The waiting staff are very attentive and did not disappoint on the deal's promise of unlimited drinks - our glasses were certainly never empty at any point throughout our two hour slot.
The menu, by head chef Jamie Dobbin, is simple but includes many appetising choices and all the cooking is of a high standard.
To start with my friend opted for the Dorset farmhouse ham, served with truffled lardo and I tried the Roast Beetroot and Feta Salad. Both of these worked well for a lovely July evening, the summery tastes matching the sun still streaming in though the floor to ceiling windows. The beetroot was particularly good, both crispy and still full of flavour, and served with a honey dressing that complemented it well.
I then moved on to the Cumbrian bavette steak, served with roast garlic butter and fries. The bavette steak was juicy, lean and well-seasoned and the garlic butter was delicious. Whilst not particularly common, bavette steak is in my opinion one of the nicest cuts and was cooked perfectly rare by the chef. My friend had the Shorthorn Beef Burger, a thick, meaty burger which came with a generous covering of smoked cheddar cheese, and fries.
We finished our three course menu with a traditional British sticky toffee pudding, served with the interesting and very good addition of cornflake ice-cream, and the Peanut butter parfait with chocolate mousse. The parfait was formed into a perfect mould and scattered with salted peanuts. The combination of light, nutty parfait and dark chocolate mousse worked brilliantly and the sticky toffee pudding was also very good, covered in a thick, rich toffee sauce.
The Shorthorn beef burger was good, although I would especially recommend the steak option on the After Dark menu.
One Canada Square is really something of a Canary Wharf institution in both its design and vibe. There is a charm to this and I couldn't help but like it. Whilst it of course caters to the local crowd of office workers and financiers, the atmosphere is surprisingly welcoming and relaxed.
After a busy week, an evening at One Canada Square enjoying their After Dark menu is a good way to relax and wind down ready for the weekend. The clientele are mainly the well-dressed, younger generation of business men and women who work close by, though undoubtedly the venue is seeking to broaden this pool, and welcome in new customers from further afield with their Friday and Saturday After Dark concept.
The upstairs bar area continues the classic look and style of the rest of the venue, but is also quite a cosy feeling space.
All in all, our experience trying out One Canada Square
's After Dark
event was very enjoyable and I think the concept does well in providing the formula for a very good evening. The Canary Wharf setting makes a nice change from your usual Soho and Shoreditch eateries, so jump on the Jubilee line and go enjoy One Canada Square
's After Dark
series on a Friday or Saturday night soon.