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Shrove Tuesday is almost upon us and whilst the culinary minded will be getting ready to get in the kitchen and whip up some pancakes some of us will be looking for an excuse to venture out and try something a bit more decadent than some lemon and sugar. Yesterday it was my pleasure to sample the wonderfully, creative, beautifully presented and divinely tasting pancakes which will be served up at One Canada Square, the ETM group’s Canary Wharf venue on Tuesday.
I navigated my way through the glass towers of Canary Wharf, feeling like it was an acropolis with temples to finance set atop it. Set in One Canada Square (the Canary Wharf tower to you and me) this is a high class venue in spectacular surroundings. The restaurant may look surprisingly small when walking through the towers enormous foye and I would describe it as surprisingly intimate, given it’s location. You feel closed off, separated from the hustle and bustle outside. I am something of a fan of ETM group pubs – as you may have gathered from my review of the Ealing Park Tavern. Whilst each is unique and really inhabits it’s surroundings they serve up some of the best food you can find in the capital, and at a reasonable price too.
Something else I am a big fan of is the humble pancake, or crepe to those from across the channel. I love the sheer number of combinations of flavour, ingredients and creativity that can be derived from such as simple and basic starting point. Each of the ETM group pubs will be serving a different selection of three pancakes crafter by their chef’s on Shrove Tuesday. At One Canada Square your choices will be as follows:
One Canada Square, Canary Wharf
Smoked salmon, dill and spiced avocado, pickled fennel, caviar, truffle dressing, £11
Devonshire crab and brown shrimp, buttered samphire, roast lobster-vanilla sauce, £12
Hot ricotta pancakes, rhubarb and custard ice cream, £6.50
We sampled the two savoury pancakes, which I will get to very soon. The prices may look a little high, it is just a pancake isn’t it? Not really when you see them and try them!
Aside from the pancakes we did have a full meal and I’d be remiss if I didn’t cover this too.
Let’s begin at the beginning. I started with the steak tartare (£9.50 as a starter). Last time I had steak tartare was sitting in a cafe on the Champs Elysee last summer. I thought this would be hard to beat, till I tried this. The tartare was excellently presented. I dived in with serious gusto. The steak was tender, soft. Not too coarse, not to fine. The egg yolk, perfectly runny and just the right amount of herbs and seasoning which didn’t over power the steak.
My fellow diner chose the river trout ceviche, served with pickled fennel, blood orange and coriander dressing. I didn’t get to try it but was assured it is very good! I think this was one of the prettiest plates of food I have ever seen. Early last year I went to Petrus where the presentation was brilliant, but I really think this plate surpasses even that.
London’s most decadent pancake
This is what I was here for. I ordered the Smoked salmon, dill and spiced avocado pancake which is served with pickled fennel, caviar & truffle dressing – £11. I wasn’t sure what to expect, all I can say is that it didn’t disappoint!
Served sliced in little rounds and topped with the dressing and just a little caviar over each,they looked as good and beautiful as they tasted. I was blown away by how the subtle combination of flavours played out on my palate. I loved how the dill is worked into the pancake batter, that each little serving has a bit of creamy avocado in it’s heart. Caviar might seem an extravagance, on a pancake and even a little too ‘fishy’ with the salmon too? Trust me when I say it works to create a very special dish.
My fellow diners pancake looked just as beautiful and tasted equally brilliant. The Devonshire crab pancake with brown shrimp, buttered samphire, roast lobster-vanilla sauce – £12 was decadent. It was a far richer and had deeper levels of flavour. That’s not to say I preferred it, just that it was different. I you prefer a lighter dish choose the Salmon and something more substantial? The Crab.
After this we were starting to feel quite full but here came the main courses. Following on from the salmon I had the kilo of Shetland Isles mussels, shallots, garlic and cream sauce – served with french fries – £16.50. The mussels were perfectly cooked and the sauce, a classic, perfectly executed. I might have preferred a little more garlic in the sauce, but that is more my personal taste than a criticism.
The culinary artistry continued with my partners main course, Pan fried fillet of Peterhead cod, clams, roast cauliflower, samphire, champagne sauce – £23. I think you’ll agree this look wonderful. I’d like to have tried a little but it seemed to disappear pretty quickly, a measure of how good it was.
I felt fit to burst already and hadn’t quite been able to finish my mussels, but the dessert menu did look quite appealing. On recommendation, I ordered the Yorkshire rhubarb mascarpone cheesecake. I loved the little hazelnut biscuit on top and flecks of vanilla running through the mascarpone. My friend ordered the White chocolate and pistachio brownie with popcorn ice cream and served with a small jug of hot chocolate sauce. I just about made my way through dessert and was certainly full to bursting! A coffee finished the evening off.
We pared the meal with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, primarily because both my partner and I much prefer white wine and as red tends to go to my head far too quickly to enjoy a meal. The manager recommended a bottle of the very light 2013 – Alain Marcadet, Touraine from the Loire Valley priced at £27 a bottle.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AB
020 7559 5199