More fool me for thinking that a Saturday night in Canary Wharf would be a ghost-town. The super sleek, modern business complex found on the Jubilee Line was buzzing on my visit at the weekend, and how could I ever have been surprised when there are so many places to dine, including well known grill, Smollensky’s.
If you walk out the correct exit of Canary Wharf station (as I did) you will see the warming lights of the Smollensky’s bar and restaurant to your right almost as soon as you step off the escalators. The restaurant hosts dark wood floors, no stuffy table cloths and elegant lighting. The atmosphere is relaxed - perfect for a lunch meeting or date night. As the rain slashed down outside, we took a peek at the covered outdoor terrace, where tables are positioned under patio heaters, ready to cater to anyone who wishes to enjoy the fresh air without suffering the harsh winter weather. Elegant lights drape around the partially covered walls giving it a magical and elegant feel. Perfect for after work drinks overlooking the wharf.
The Food and Drink
To begin, there are some wonderful wines on offer in this place and if you’re a fan of red you need look no further than the incredible selection of Riojas which are currently available within their Festival of Rioja season, running until the end of November. Upon the recommendation of our incredibly helpful waitress, we went for a bottle of the Rioja Reserva Vivanco (£31.50) which had beautiful, deep berry notes; warming and soft, perfect for succulent, comforting dishes. Sometimes starters don’t need to be a fancy affair - give me some slices of warm bread with soft, salted butter and i’m happy, so that’s how we started our meals, with a hearty bowl of bread, butter, oil (£3.50) and olives (£3.95). Simple. Delicious. For our mains, we went a little more indulgent, with a succulent, rare sirloin steak for myself (£21.50), and a bowl of steaming, white wine soaked moules frites (£12.95) for my pal.
On the side of my steak I ordered a pile of velvety smooth mashed potato, a pot of black and blue sauce (a cajun spice and gorgonzola blend) and a green salad to share. The mash was smooth and creamy, soaking up the juices from the tender, juicy steak. The black and blue sauce was beautiful, with a warm slice and a salty kick from the cheese. My friend’s moules frites were fresh and creamy. The garlic and white wine creamy sauce permeated through the open hinges of the shells and covered every last piece of flesh. The skin on fries while crispy still managed to soak up the sauce when generously dunked, as did the extra slices of crunchy bread. It was a warming bowl, the perfect anti- dote to the miserable wet weather out in the wharf.
Our waistbands cried no, but our self restraint hadn’t turned up that night, and so we ordered ourselves the sticky toffee pudding (£4.95) and the peanut butter cheesecake (£4.95) to finish (which had proven so popular that this was the last one available!) The sticky toffee came swimming in a lake of beautifully creamy creme anglaise with a generous covering of toffee sauce which looked like the most delicious oil slick! It ticked every winter pudding box I could have asked for. The cheesecake wasn’t as peanut buttery as we’d have liked, but it was creamy and indulgent none-the-less.
After all that? Canary Wharf clearly isn’t the soulless business district I thought it was. Shame on me and my ignorance. Thank you Smollensky’s for making me see the light….... the warm, cosy light perfect for enjoying satisfying foods and exemplary wine.