40 Canada Square
The Park Pavilion,
The Parlour is a low-lit, cavernous venue which you can easily imagine heaving with well-dressed office types later in the week. It was still busy on the Monday night on which we dined. And why not? The cocktails tasted as good as they read on the menu and were well-priced for Canary Wharf. Their extensive menu would also appeal, whether you are looking to diet, graze or stuff yourself silly. In the interest of being able to adequately assess their fare, we went for the latter option, starting with a cocktail, of course.
Foregoing the "skinny" cocktails (a range of 6 that contain less than 110 calories each), as we had already been seduced by the full calorie menu, we ordered Kiwi Loco, a refreshing fruit blend, and Lounge Lady, which puts a Cosmo to shame, even if its promised gin-soaked cherry was absent.
There are several zones to The Parlour's vast space, none of which seemed to particularly gel with the name Parlour, but they make it possible to eat with friends, stand and graze at high tables with colleagues, or sneak into a booth with a date. The restaurant boasts of food coming from local artisan producers, bread from Flour Station, meat from Allens of Mayfair and fish from Billingsgate market, just a stone’s throw away. These offerings can be seen piled decoratively along the bar that separates the serving area from the open kitchens. The focaccia beckoned all too-temptingly, and would no doubt foil any plans of stopping only for a drink. The only bread they do make in-house is flat bread, which comes with a range of toppings. We tried the autumn offering: the roast squash, candied pecans & goats cheese - a delicious and perfectly balanced combination and a nice variation on pizza or bread and dips, though sadly the flat bread was a little doughy.
We had a similar issue with the deep fried squid which was seasoned perfectly with salt, pepper, garlic and chilli but also a little chewy and a touch greasy. They redeemed themselves with a near-perfect fish pie, filled with large chunks of fish and topped with gorgeous grilled cheese. Linguine a la vongole was also incredibly flavoursome and generous on the mussels.
Despite being achingly full we were persuaded to share a brownie. Warmed and served with good vanilla ice-cream, it’s an excellent dessert for those cold evenings. You can always order a skinny cocktail and thereby totally justify pudding.
I wouldn’t make a trip especially to Canary Wharf for the culinary experience, but if you are in the area you will enjoy well-flavoured, well-priced food, fantastic cocktails and a great atmosphere.
**The Parlour: **The Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square London E14 5FW. Tel: 0845 468 0100. www.theparlourbar.co.uk.
**Reviewer: **Jennifer Earle