Restaurant Review: One Canada Square, all head, no heart

One Canada Square is a restaurant based in an office building, which might put you off. Having said that, it’s one of the most stunning office interiors in the capital, and once you’re in the restaurant, it really does feel different.

I imagine this will turn out being a prime business lunch destination. We went early evening, after Saturday-before-Christmas shopping. I wasn’t too thrilled to be seated so close to fire extinguishers, but the ambiance overall was pretty good.

The menu was exciting, one that makes you want to order everything. We had a 50% off food Toptable deal, allowing us to order anything from the a la carte except for the Chateaubriand.

Our starters were good. DH had the pressed rabbit and smoked mallard, and I had the veal with salsa verde. When it arrived, I did begin to think that having anchovies on the plate with veal was a little odd. Having eaten it, I still think it’s a little odd, but it was odd in a very pleasant way.

For the main course I had the fish special, Brixham brill with artichoke, and a delicious sauce that contained caviar. Again it was very nicely presented. DH had the braised beef cheek and said it was very tasty, as well as being a generous portion.

It’s a bit posh, here. In a good way, maybe, depending on what you like. I wouldn’t go so far as to say stuffy, but it’s safe to say that when a smartly dressed waitress dropped a plate (and later a fair bit of cutlery) there was a deathly silence as opposed to a murmured cheer.

In terms of the wine, we went for a Languedoc, which happened to be the cheapest red on the menu (under £20). It was very nice. The wine menu was served on an iPad, which was a quirky touch that I didn’t mind. However, if it was supposed to be making my browsing experience pleasant enough for me to choose something to splash out on, it had the opposite effect. I get enough technology at home. There’s something nice about a leather bound menu in my opinion. (To be fair to them, I was offered a paper copy of the menu, but only after already having been handed the tablet, and the waitress didn’t appear to have it with her.)

I’d recommend One Canada Square and would return, but only for the same offer. At the end of the day, if I were to actually be paying £24 a main, I’d want to go for a Michelin star meal (entirely doable). They’ve quite clearly gone and got a top exec chef in here; the presentation is flawless and the flavours aren’t at all bad either. But somehow it lacks a little warmth. It could be a really, really fantastic place if they had a decent playlist, a waiter with a quick wit, and a chef who wasn’t afraid of showing a little personality on the plate.