The restaurant: Pleateau, 4th Floor, Canada Place, London E14 5ER
How often do you find yourself at Canary Wharf? The answer is probably ‘rarely’ unless you work there. Yet there’s a plethora of eating, drinking and shopping institutions that are only made use of by Wharf workers, for the five days out of seven that they have stop off at the office. I once traipsed down to the quayside for a miserable Sunday roast before wandering morosely about an empty mall. That’s how I know you don’t spend your weekends in Canary Wharf.
Visiting Plateau mid-week made a difference. We arrived at the restaurant a little late because we struggled to find it, before going up a wrong escalator or two. The address is 4th Floor, Canada Square: the building behind the glass building the one with the pyramid roof; pick the lift that says Plateau. On Wednesday there’s a chaotic, caricature of office workers raving at each around the bar or huddling out on the terrace. Everyone tipped out of the brightly-lit One Canada Square across the way into landed clamorously into the Plateau bar. There isn’t any music playing, but there’s certainly a brilliant buzz about the place. The restaurant side was much quieter. It’s a spacious place with a plush feel and odd chairs.
The cuisine is French: it takes British produce and uses contemporary European cooking styles and flavours. The menu is a good length, featuring all the usual suspects and no more. Choose from chicken, game, beef, fish or spiced cauliflower mains — all served with combination of braised or puréed vegetables. The chef Frederick Forster, who’s worked with Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsey, offers a well-rounded take on French cuisine without it feeling garish or overly anglicised.
Game and duck liver terrine was an unappealing slab of pâté, glistening with chunks of fat. Knowing better than to judge on appearances, it was brilliantly flavoursome with a very meaty ham-like flavour, along with the smooth texture of the duck liver. The toasted brioche was a soft and lovely sweetener to accompany it. The jam served beside it seemed an unnecessary accomplice, as the terrine held enough flavour by itself.
28-day aged beef fillet steak — tear apart with your fork, dripping its own jus, with a dab of melted garlic butter — sat upon firm sand carrots and grilled mushrooms. My red leg partridge cowered on the plate beside it and hummed with a gamey farmyard-like smell. Morteau sausage added a smokey flavour, while the braised gem confirmed why Plateau love a good braised vegetable.
Plateau has its quirks that prevent it falling flat. It serves up decent contemporary French cuisine, the staff are cooly professional and the atmosphere is lively without detracting from the desire to enjoy a quiet dinner.
To book, visit Plateau-Restaurant.co.uk or call 020 7715 7100