One Canada Square is a bar restaurant in the lobby of the One Canada Square building, colloquially known as ‘Canary Wharf Tower’. It is part of the ETM Group which is best known for venues such as The Botanist and The Cadogan Arms in Chelsea which both serve great food and drink. Will their 11th London outpost attract the bankers as much as the their West London outposts attract the Chelsea crowd?
From the lobby area, this venue looks out of place as an annexed corner with styling that contrasts greatly with the soulless One Canada Square lobby area. However, inside the atmosphere becomes more akin to a French brasserie, complete with wooden accents, warm lighting and a highly polished bar.
From the outside, the split floor venue has the appearance of a giant cube. However it is deceptively larger than expected. The ground floor is dominated by an island bar which stands in front of the dining area. A split staircase leads to a mezzanine level with extra dining space and a second smaller bar.
The staff tell me there is space for 100 to dine. 74 downstairs and 26 in the mezzanine which is also available for private hire.
Complimentary bar snacks are provided in the form of excellent Chilli and Caramel popcorn with a touch of salt which are refilled as soon as you polish them off. This is a flavour combo I have not tried and was impressed that it worked so well.
The bar menu is served from 11h00-23h00. In amongst the expected olive and almond snacks, there is a ‘Raw’ menu of steak tartare, ceviche and carpaccio (from £8) plus a more substantial ‘Burgers, Dogs and Subs’ section offering a selection of sliders, a ‘Braised Philly cheese steak sub’ and a Chilli cheese dog (all at £12.50). A Cheeseburger (£16) and my choice, the intriguing ‘Scallop and Shrimp’ burger with kimchee (£17).
The burger is served with kimchee and a pot of relish on the side. The patty made from roughly chopped shrimp and scallop pieces which gives a satisfying bite. The pale colour is a little disconcerting at first but it does taste amazing and better than most of the ‘soft shell crab’ style burgers I have sampled.
Rosemary fries are served with all of the Burger, Dogs and Subs menu. Although not as strong in flavour as the Honest Burgers variety, they are conveniently garnished with a sprig of rosemary for you to self season.
If you like seafood and unusual burgers this is definitely one to try. Initially I assumed that I would miss the beef patty, however it was surprisingly satisfying without the meat.
BAR & COCKTAILS
The bar menu is conveniently supplied on an iPad with a nice ‘add to shortlist’ feature to track anything which catches your eye. If you’re a Japanese whisky fan, note that they have the Hibiki and Hakushu range from Suntory. This includes the Hibiki 30 and Hakushu 25. Yes they are £100 for a double but considering those bottles retail for £900 each, it isn’t a totally unreasonable markup.
The bartenders were quite keen to engage in conversation about spirits and mentioned that they have had several spirits training sessions recently. My Old Fashioned was made with Buffalo Trace, the house bourbon. For fans of American Whiskey most of the Buffalo Trace range is available including Sazerac, Eagle Rare, and George T Stagg.
The bartenders followed up my Old Fashioned with a suggestion of a ‘Japanese Manhattan’ (i.e. read ‘Manhattan made with Japanese Whisky’). This was made with Hakushu 12 to give a little smoke and and garnished with a dried vanilla pod to give an interesting nose. Impressed!
Lately I have been quite impressed with venues which I (perhaps incorrectly) expect to be occupied by restaurants serving substandard food at hugely inflated prices. How else with they scrape enough rent money to prevent eviction?
Based on this initial visit at the bar I was pleasantly surprised and confirm this is not the case for One Canada Square.
The bartender team was very attentive and maintained good service, even as the bar began to fill with post-work drinkers. They were also very happy to show their knowledge on the premium selection of Japanese whiskies and wide bourbon selection.
The burger was surprisingly good with large chunks of shrimp and scallops giving it an awesome bite. The only other ‘seafood’ burger I’ve had recently is the soft shell crab variety which I often feel loses something with the lack of beef. However, you don’t feel you miss it here. Definitely the best ‘non-beef’ burger I’ve had in a long time.
If you’re looking to try a unique burger and love your drinks. This is definitely a place to visit.