Let’s be honest: most of us love the adrenalin-inducing frantic pace of London life. We are perhaps lucky if we can grab a plastic sandwich for lunch, and dinner can often be something of a rush or a take-away. But there is always the weekend.
Brunch can be a special time. A quiet time partnered with delicious food. An occasion to meet friends who have that same hectic life profile. It’s a few hours when we don’t need to hurry. Yes, Brunch ticks so many boxes of relaxed conviviality.
One Canada Square restaurant is a newly-found gem for this writer. I recently enjoyed lunch so much that I wanted to visit for brunch. It’s a small restaurant but beautifully appointed with Art Deco hints, green Guatemalan marble, dark wood and classic service. Saturday brunch has casually dressed guests rather than the flock of be-suited business diners who populate it on weekdays. The ambiance is relaxed but the attention to detail is still evident.
Brunch offers the best of both breakfast and lunch, and One Canada Square invites you between 9am and 5pm every Saturday. If you arrive around 1pm you will likely be welcomed by a pianist tickling the ivories (it’s not really ivory, my dear ecologically-aware reader) of a white baby-grand piano. This is old-fashioned charm even though the music is a mixture of contemporary and high-brow pieces, and perhaps some snatches from the musicals, too.
The menu is extensive and offers two selections. There is the Full Brunch menu or the Bottomless Brunch menu, which is slightly shorter but gives the appealing advantage of an endless supply of fizz or Bloody Marys.
I do think that a good egg dish is important at any self-respecting brunch. It’s the very eggy definition of that multi-faceted meal. Eggs Benedict is ubiquitous and for very good reason. They do a classic Eggs Benni here with a runny yolk that bathes the ham and is seasoned by the Hollandaise Sauce. There is a luxurious version that sounds divine – Soft-shell Crab Benedict with jalapeno hollandaise. There is also, amongst many other items, an ‘OCS Breakfast’ that sounds as if it could be the brekkie of choice for strapping rugby players – fried duck egg, crisp pancetta, chorizo, morcilla (a kind of black pudding), hash browns, and an English muffin.
There are salads for those with less capacity than hefty sportsmen. The Heritage Tomato Salad with Feta was fresh and flavourful and a riot of colours. Those little fruits (yes, a tom is a fruit) range from the savoury to the sweet, the flesh from meaty to melting. It’s only tomatoes but simple can sometimes be outstanding.
The menu changes often to reflect the best of produce but my Saturday offered Crab Tagliatelle and it was outstanding. There was a decent amount of seafood, a good-sized portion of pasta and plenty of flavour. There are also steaks, burgers and chicken as well as vegetarian options.
If space allows, a dessert will be in order. Bitter chocolate delice with salted caramel and burnt orange ice cream is a sweet triumph. The delice was rich and dark and the caramel a delightful garnish (they should serve this by the pot-full). But the star was the ice cream!
Canada Square, the location, that is, sparkles with glass and metal – a striking city landscape. But this cosy restaurant found in the corner of the foyer of One Canada Square, the building, is a stylish step back in time, and a very welcome one.
One Canada Square
London E14 5AB
Reservations: 020 7559 5199
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018