Work lunches can always be a challenge. You go as a large group (which means you inevitably get stuck with a limited menu) and then there is the dilemma of ordering something rich and interesting (and then drifting off to sleep in a food coma) or going for the simple sandwich or salad option. After some research, we settled on One Canada Square for our team lunch as the menu was reasonably diverse and they had space. Overall, the experience was better than I expected as they had our table set up and ready to go when we arrived and even agreed to let us order from the full menu. The décor and setting is fairly comfortable (and not drafty – there you go Dom) although it’s a bit of a weird feeling being in the lobby of a skyscraper.
What you need to know
- Prices are a bit expensive with mains for lunch running £15-25 (but that’s CW for you)
- Service was slow – this may be due to our group size of 14 however
- Health & Safety means they won’t cook the burgers below medium
- The fries are excellent as were the unexpected petit fours
- Portions are huge – think US sizes rather than British
Food: ★★★☆☆ Service: ★★★★☆ Atmosphere: ★★★☆☆ Value: ★★☆☆☆ Overall: ★★★☆☆
This isn’t a place that has a bar to hang out in but with the wealth of bars and pubs around CW this isn’t an issue. In the same building you have both Parlour (one of the D&D family) and a Wahaca – both of which provide you with plenty of space to grab a drink while you wait.
What about the food?
I was in the mood for a burger although I was a bit hesitant when I learned that medium was the least they would allow as I prefer a medium-rare burger with plenty of meaty flavour (think Bleecker St as the epitome of this). While the patty was surprisingly pink, it had that dense texture that comes from machine packed patties and the squarish shape supported that conclusion. The bun was massive and a tad dry while the toppings got a bit lost in the fluffiness. Overall, it was perfectly adequate but for £15 it was a bit of a let down. The fries were perfect – crunchy thin spears of potato well-seasoned with sea salt.
The rest of the teams dishes looked interest with the salmon fish cake being the most popular (you get one massive fish cake on a bed of greens), a lemon sole big enough for two dwarfing the petite girl who ordered it, and a curried sea bass fillet that gave me a bit of food envy.
Desserts were almost excellent. I went for the brownie with white chocolate chips and pistachios which was small but extremely rich and chocolatey. It was topped with a quenelle of salted caramel popcorn ice cream (top marks!) and a delicate loop of chocolate. A few scattered dried berries finished off the beautiful presentation – right until they poured chocolate sauce (which had split) all over it. That last step would have been happily forgone had I realised what was going on in time. I’d also note the trio of petit fours which included a decadent chocolate truffle, a vanilla marshmellow, and a very tart blood orange gelloid (is that the right word?). I’d actually be happy with that for a dessert – in fact I thought it was a deconstructed cheesecake at first!
How about a drink?
Unfortunately I can’t comment on this as it was a team lunch so we stayed away from the booze. A glance at the wine list seemed to indicate a decent range but again a bit pricier than I’d prefer. There is a full bar so I expect you can get all the classics but I wouldn’t hold out hope for anything exciting.
Worth the dosh?
Not for me. I think there are some interesting places to eat in CW at the same or even slightly lower price point – Plateau for example. One Canada Square strikes me as overpriced but very convenient if you happen to work in the building and need a spot for a business lunch – thus fine for expense account meals.
Find One Canada Square here