Spanish cuisine and al fresco dining in Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf divides opinions. You either hate it, or you dislike it. Boom boom. Seriously Canary Wharf is the most perfectly functional part of town I’ve ever worked in. The trains are great, the office space is brilliant, and it has every upmarket high street store you could ask for. Alas it has all the culture, style and charisma of a potato. If you want to find out what is the latest chain bar or restaurant to hit London, this is the place. If you want to go somewhere that serves Stella Artois and pinot grigio by the gallon, look no further. If you find the Kings Road too dangerous and Mayfair too hipster, check out the wharf. A friend once described it as the Hong Kong of London – a description which does the former a disservice.
Ibérica is one of the chain restaurants that have secured a spot there (independents need not apply) but is doing everything it can to raise its gastronomic head above the parapet. They’ve opened the al fresco La Terraza, across the street in the middle-of-the -square away from the main restaurant, which aims to bring a splash of Madrid style dining to the Wharf. We were spoilt with a selection of tapas and pinchos (small bites), the highlights of which were the Salmorejo cordobés - a Spanish chilled tomato soup with Ibérico ham & quail egg; Gambas al Ajillo - prawns cooked in olive oil with garlic and cayenne pepper; and the Butifarra pork burger with pickled fennel served alongside ‘Papas Arrugás’ potatoes with melted Canarian cheese. The favourite however was the Spanish sourdough baguettes, which are deep-filled with fried squid with lemon alioli and could have gone wrong on so many fronts, but was instead executed perfectly. Delicious. Dessert was a banana cake, chocolate and coffee cream concoction which was a good Spanish twist on a tiramisu.
The waiters were efficiently laidback in a way that only the Spanish and Italians can be. The other diners were mostly male, and all suited and booted. No surprises there.
Although it was a cold July evening, the waiters supported by the garden setting complete with heaters and a water feature, did their best to make it feel like Spain. Which of course it isn’t but unlike its Wharf location Ibérica La Terraza should consolidate rather then divide opinion. And that opinion should mostly be positive.
From * to *****
Wining and dining ****
Boozing and schmoozing ***
Flirting and romancing ***
Ibérica La Terraza
Cabot Square, London E14 4QQ
T: 020 7636 8650