Restaurant Review: Boisdale at Canary Wharf in London
In the heart of London Docklands, Boisdale at Canary Wharf effortlessly combines city chic, good music and excellent fine dining. The ambience is classy and yet somehow somewhat cosy too. The Wednesday after work vibe is relaxed yet comfortably alert.
To arrive at the restaurant you take the elevator to the second floor of the Art Deco building. Once inside you are greeted by the beautiful view of the fountains in Cadot Square, complete with trees adorned in lights if you arrive after dark. The décor is wonderfully eclectic, with both modern and classical artwork on the walls, including pictures of famous singers, portraits, paintings of nudes and nature; wooden flooring covered in rugs; candle holders on the white table cloths, dark red walls and leather seating.
Background music plays while you enjoy the ambience, and at 9pm the lights dim and the live music begins on their very own stage (this evening we enjoyed The Charlie Pyne Trio, a sultry mix of modern and classic jazz tunes). The live music whilst you dine creates a great, unique environment (although it was marginally too loud to enjoy a relaxed conversation) and really sets the venue apart from standard restaurants. With Jules Holland as their Patron of Music (or affectionately called their Sommelier of Sound) they bring world class musicians to you as you dine, including jazz, blues and soul.
Their menu selects the best food from the British Isles, with an emphasis on Scottish cuisine. For my starter I chose their Dunkeld Scottish Oak Smoked Salmon (multiple award winning salmon from the Scottish Highlands). The sliced salmon covered the plate and was simply served with a lemon wedge, whilst the waiter offered me a choice of various accompaniments, including capers and chillies. I opted for the capers, which combined with the fresh lemon brought out the delicious smoked flavour of the salmon. My dining partner chose their Hand Picked Dressed Devonshire Crab, a delicately rolled portion of crab wrapped in pickled cucumber, served with brown crab mayonnaise as a garnish and a rich keta caviar on top.
To enjoy with our first course, we sampled their speciality cocktail of Autumn Leaves, which combined gin and cinnamon, with an orange slice to serve. The gin gave it a slightly bitter taste (although not unpleasant), which was in perfect contrast to the sweetness of the cinnamon. The smell of the burnt cinnamon on top was delightfully aromatic too.
For the main offering, I had their Poached Fillet of Newlyn Wild Seabass, served with salsify, foraged alexander vegetables, Atlantic prawns and a rich and creamy white wine sauce. The seabass was beautifully light, with a subtle fish flavour, served on a bed of prawns and roasted alexanders. Absolutely superb. My dining partner had the 9oz rib eye steak, a centre cut rib, dry aged for 28 days. It had a buttery, chargrilled flavour, and was good quality, however it was slightly too fatty for my companion’s liking. We shared some Bashed Neeps, (swede and carrot mixed with black pepper), Steamed broccoli, flavoured with salted almond butter and some Sweet Potato Chips with smoked paprika. The sweet potato chips were crisp and crunchy on the outside, whilst being delightfully soft on the inside. The mixture of bashed neeps wonderfully combined the sweetness of the carrots and the slight bitterness of the suede. The steamed broccoli was perfectly crunchy and tasted fresh and crisp.
To enjoy with our main course we had a glass of their Vina del Vero merlot. This was a light, subtle wine with a rich, earthy flavour.
For dessert, I chose their Dark Valhrona Chocolate & Salted Caramel Torte, with a whisky & marmalade purée, honeycomb, and blood orange. A wonderful slice of chocolate and caramel, with a generous sized piece of honeycomb on top. The base was crispy, with a slight hazelnut flavour. The bitter marmalade was perfectly complimented with the salty sweetness of the wonderfully light caramel topping and the richness of the dark chocolate.
My dining partner had the Madagascan Vanilla & Tonka Bean Baked Cheesecake, served with Griotine cherries, pistachio nuts and a cherry meringue. This was deliciously smooth with a strong vanilla flavour. You could really taste the sharpness of the cherries and tonka beans, which was contrasted with the sweet cheesecake filling.
For a mid-week evening, the dining area quickly became busy and it’s easy to see why it is so popular. With an incredibly impressive selection of spirits displayed behind the bar, they also have 900 different malt whiskies available; a large cheese board selection to choose from; a cigar room which offers Havana cigars and vintage tobacco that pre-dates the Castro revolution; plus delightfully unusual wall décor which includes mounted instruments and taxidermy stag heads. They also offer private dining rooms for those who require a slightly more secluded dining experience.
Whether you’re after a relaxed drink after work, a dinner to mark a special occasion, or just something different on any night of the week, Boisdale at Canary Wharf will not disappoint. No matter what the occasion, there’s an element to Boisdale for everyone.
Address: Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QT / 020 7715 5818