What happens After Dark at One Canada Square, Canary Wharf
14 Jul 2016
We were intrigued to see what tricks could possibly be up their sleeve with the magical After Dark menu (£45pp for two courses or £50pp for three). It was originally the star of Saturday night’s culinary show, however the success has seen it cross over to Friday; the most favoured night of the week.
The hints of art deco with beautiful sweeping staircases dress the ground floor of the ETM group’s restaurant, it’s the work of the David Collins Studio and the mezzanine means you can gaze across Canada Square and watch as city life continues outside like an ever spinning wheel of making and spending money.
The intimidating lobby ceiling was a million miles away. We embarked with caution, and despite the challenging height of the space, the restaurant was genuinely good looking and handsome. The racing green marble and deep brown leather are a charming match, destined to be together like Romeo and Juliet, I just hoped the food wouldn’t be as tragic as that ending.
The starters were welcomed onto the table from the sorcerers in the kitchen, the pea and mint soup with crème fraiche and black olive was perfectly apt for this time of year; stunningly fresh, zingy and light. The Roast Beetroot and Feta salad was another summery dish, beans, tomatoes and crunchy sourdough crisps married together with a sweet honey dressing. The sourdough served alongside should’ve, but couldn’t be ignored, the warm dough melting the butter was threatening to ruin my appetite for what was yet to come.
For main, the chicken in its costume of confit leeks, haricot beans, sprouting broccoli and creamed spinach was spellbindingly good, it was hot, tender and juicy, a stark contrast to its rival on the table the Artichoke Tortellini, with delicious mushrooms, summer truffle and shaved parmesan.
Black magic was at play when it came to dessert and yes the Sticky Toffee Pudding with a majestic cornflake ice cream was a good version of a classic but the Peanut Butter Parfait with chocolate mousse and salted peanuts was where the real sorcery happened. It was like a snickers bar on steroids and took hold of my very soul, bite by salty-chocolatey bite.
In the most spellbindingly way, our glasses were never empty, the waiters working seamlessly to keep the promise of limitless alcohol from the selection of prosecco, ETM wine (red, white, rose), or bottled beer offered on the generous set menu.
There is value for money in the lobby of this skyscraper and maybe it was just the alcohol that got me in a hex but with my hunger well and truly satisfied I found it within myself to forgive them for the initial intimidation of the monumental environment. The set price makes it very easy to go Dutch and split the bill, (maybe the romance did die with R and J after all) also saving from that embarrassment when dining with friends, getting Daniel to cough up for the extra drinks he inhaled when the rest of us were in between the first and second glass. Humph!