Peter Morrell is impressed with the new décor and menu at this revamped restaurant located in one of London’s most vibrant areas
I was recently in Canary Wharf, London’s new financial district with a friend. We were amazed about how much it had changed over the years, every day more than 100,000 people flood in to the area to work, shop and play making it a upbeat place to visit.
It was around lunch time and we wanted a relaxing and proper meal, so rather than endure the frenetic crowds in the coffee shops and sandwich bars of Cabot Place we popped out onto the adjoining square to find a restaurant.
The Pagination, overlooking the northern basin of the West India Dock look like the ideal solution. The light and airy bar/restaurant has recently had a revamp and is now bang up to date. The industrial feel of the décor has been softened with attractive handwoven materials and the tables are well spaced giving us the opportunity to chat.
The site was originally one of Canary Wharf’s longest established watering holes owned by Corney and Barrow Bars who have recently been acquired by the well respected hospitality group Drake and Morgan. Not only have the new owners completely updated the décor but the menu has had a major refresh.
Perusing the menu there is a combination of new dishes and a nod to a more traditional past. The Thai coconut curry sits comfortably alongside beer-battered fish and chips. There are appetisers like Italian green olives, starters including a chorizo Scotch egg and for the mains there are salads, burgers and steaks. Vegetarians are well catered for and if you have got a sweet tooth you will be happy with the chocolate brownies and pecan pie as a finale.
We started with squid and chicken satay, my companion’s satay was delicious, the meat was moist and tender and the five stick set was covered in a very tangy peanut sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds. The portion of my crispy squid with lemon mayo was huge, it had a satisfyingly crunchy coating and the fish was succulent and had lots of flavour.
My friend had the bangers and mash with red onion gravy as his main and was very happy with it. Good creamy mash was the bed for very meaty pork sausages, with the gravy and a side of buttered spinach adding further flavour and texture dimensions.
My main was the hefty half pound cheeseburger garnished with lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickled gherkin with a side of chips. I savoured every mouthful, this was real comfort food. The beef had a good depth of flavour and the chips were crisp on the outside with a floury centre.
One of the things preserved from the Corney and Barrow days is the wine list which still offers a great selection of quality vintages, many available by the glass. A few highlights – the Roero Arneis white from Piedmont, the fashionable Picpoul from the Langedoc, a rare single varietal Petit Verdot from Argentina and a Carmenere from Chile. To help you chose the wines are classified by characteristic – aromatic, bold, intense etc.
Our wine match for the meal was the Rioja Reserva Belezos 2010 from Bodegas Zugober. This was a beautiful wine, it had a deep garnet colour in the glass and there were aromas of ripe plums in the bouquet. The palate showed complex dried fruit and tobacco notes with hints of vanilla from the oak ageing. The tannins were well structured, making the wine silky smooth and the finish was long and fruity.
The portions had been large so neither of us could manage a pudding, but if tempted there was ice cream and the aforementioned sweet treats. If your taste is more savoury there is a selection of British cheeses.
The service throughout was excellent, friendly and knowledgeable and this added to the enjoyable dining experience.
As well as the all day menu there is a set menu which changes every month, it’s priced at £15 and £20 for two and three courses respectively. I had chosen from this menu making it remarkable value for money.
On our way out we took a look at the large outside terrace which will be ideal for alfresco dining come the warm weather. This had been a great choice of venue, it was relaxed, the food and wine were high quality, the service had been excellent and it was good value for money.
Canary Wharf is now much more than just a place to work, it’s my wife and daughter preferred shopping destination. Whatever your reason for being in Docklands I can thoroughly recommend The Pagination as a place to eat and drink.
9 Cabot Square
London E14 4EB
020 7512 0397
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