Feel Right At Home At The Parlour, Canary Wharf

03 Apr 2018

Unless you work in Canary Wharf, you probably wouldn’t think it was also a nice place to have dinner. Yes, you might come here for the Waitrose or the underground shopping centre, but there’s also a number of bars and restaurants hidden in the labyrinth beneath this corporate mecca. I admit that I did get lost more than once, and at one point arrived in the middle of One Canada Square lobby.

I clearly wasn’t in the right place, but just beyond some other doors, I finally found The Parlour. My first impression is that I wasn’t entirely surprised to see that the clientele was mostly made up of suited corporate employees stopping by from their nearby office for a drink before setting off home. Squeezing by them, I came to our table just off the bar.

I do have to say that by day, The Parlour is a refreshing combination of glass, metal and seafoam, as if Crystal Palace had risen from the ashes and settled on the seaside. By night it’s entirely different: the chandeliers and the lights behind the bar staff throw a warm glow on every surface, there’s standing room only and the rather enjoyably eclectic music playlist adds to the social lubricant.

Bring a date to the cinema? You don’t really have a chance to talk. Bring a date to an intimate dinner and conversation will be the centrepiece.  And then bring a date to The Parlour for an experience somewhere in between. The restaurant portion is in a dedicated dining area, but you’re still part of the hubbub. Then by 8pm, the crowd clears, the dust settles, and The Parlour feel more like a restaurant, less like a bar.

But we’re here to eat too. I love an ‘All Day Menu’ because it means I can get what I want, when I want it. The Parlour offers up standard pub fare (i.e. fish and chips, burgers etc) right alongside more unexpected dishes, like Crispy Duck Salad (£9.95), Butternut Squash Risotto (£10.50) and a number of flatbreads and sharing boards to suit larger groups. This isn’t fancy, but it’s nice.

My Wagyu Burger (£16.50) was tender and topped with a sweet tomato chutney, with a pail of crispy chips, and you can choose from all kinds of chip flavours too: Louisiana (cajun), Cowboy (honey and chilli) and Roman (Parmesan and rosemary). We particularly enjoyed our starter of a Scotch Egg (£6.25) which was cooked properly, taking a spin on the original with salty and spicy chorizo and smoked paprika mayo.

The Wine list is impressively long, organised according to the taste you’re going for–from ‘Aromatic, Vibrant and Mineral’ to ‘Bold, Intense and Robust’. The non-alcoholic drinks were treated with as much care as the tipples, and our Basil Fawlty (£4.50) was as spicy and fruity as advertised–the warmth tickling my lips and throat with each sip.

In such a small eating area, one waitress keeps all the plates spinning, but spends enough time at our table to make us feel welcome

Even though I got lost finding it, I felt as if I’d stumbled across a real gem in the middle of this maze that is Canary Wharf. That gem came with an attractive atmosphere: glass walls with views of enormous buildings, friendly chatter, eclectic music and the sense that no one really knows to come here.


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