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Restaurant review: elevated dining at one of London’s best skyline restaurants

Bokan Canary Wharf

Our Editor spent a beautiful summer evening at Bōkan in Canary Wharf, enjoying sun-downers on the 39th floor rooftop bar, followed by a fine dining experience two floors down at one of London’s best skyline restaurants.

London is not shy of skyscrapers and rooftops and when it comes to admiring views across the city, there’s plenty from iconic buildings like The Shard, The Gherkin and 110 Bishopsgate. But for those in the know, the impressive views from the award-winning restaurant and bar, Bōkan, are unrivalled – trace the river Thames into East London and spot all these landmarks and more.

Located in the heart of London’s financial district, Bokan is set over the 37th, 38th and 39th floors at the very top of the Novotel London Canary Wharf. There’s a restaurant, bar and rooftop terrace, all with spectacular 360° views and on-point industrial chic interiors.

Aperitifs on the 39th floor rooftop bar and terrace

We started our evening on the 39th floor’s open air, all-weather rooftop bar and terrace, kitted with heaters so you can stay cosy even in the colder weather. The relaxed atmosphere of this sun drenched terrace and its cool playlist had attracted a great after-work crowd from the local offices. We could have stayed there all evening enjoying our delicious Limoncello Spritzers. It really is the ultimate spot to watch the sun set on the capital’s iconic landmarks in Canary Wharf, and as far as the eye can see.

Innovative menus at Bōkan 37

It’s fine dining at high altitude at Bōkan 37, courtesy of Executive Chef Robert Manea, previously of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Whilst the vista is enough to attract diners – we were seated in the corner with the full-size windows on both sides to give us the best views possible. The food was every bit as good as the panoramic views. The modern European menu puts the spotlight on impeccably sourced British produce and nose to tail, root to leaf dining, where possible.

What was the food like?

We were served a light amuse bouche of fresh fig sorbet, a nice way to whet the appetite and cleanse the palette after our pre-dinner cocktails.

For starters, I had pristine crabmeat, elderflower panna cotta & Barattiere gin jelly which was absolutely divine with the freshest crabmeat balanced beautifully with the delicate elderflower. My partner chose salmon sushi with dashi broth – the combination worked well, bringing out the best of the salmon.

As our mains, my partner chose the Sea bass and spring greens with Kombucha. Another simple dish celebrating the freshest seasonal ingredients that had been superbly prepared. There was plenty of depth in the delicate flavours – highly recommended. I chose the dry-aged beef fillet with beetroot & zeppole as my main. The fillet steak was cooked perfectly medium-rare, the way I prefer it and accompanied interestingly with zappola (Italian doughnuts), however the slight sweetness worked well with the strong flavours of this delicious beef.

It was time to finish our meal with a pudding but to be honest, after the two courses we could have skipped it altogether. We decided to share one of the Bokan chocolate sensations which truly was chocolaty with rich dark chocolate flavour dominating the dish. Very tasty we agreed.

Tasting experiences

Two course and three course menus are available at dinner, but the star of the show is the stunning seven course chef’s tasting experience (£99pp). Creative and perfect plated dishes include sweetheart cabbage, sauerkraut, burnt mayo; Queen langoustine, razor clams, octopus; short ribs, parsnip, shitake mushroom. For more informal dining, there’s the likes of Napoletana pumpkin tortelloni; Irish Beef fillet and venison tartare.

Come Saturday, it’s all about leisurely brunching with a three seasonal brunch menu (£45pp) plus the option of free-flowing prosecco (£19pp) against a backdrop of spectacular views.

Intriguing cocktails at Bar 38

With a name meaning ‘lighthouse’ and anchored in the docklands, the bar at Bōkan 38 champions locally distilled spirits and imaginative cocktails alongside a selection of craft beers and an extensive wine list. The inventive cocktail menu, created by Head Bartender, Generoso D’Avino and his team, pays homage to the rich history of Canary Wharf, with tipples inspired by the West India Docks, East India Docks and Royal Docks, alongside unique sharing vessels inspired by the Blackwell Levels. All cocktails are made using carefully sourced ingredients from countries that set sail to the Docks to trade in the 1800s.

Bōkan – see and be seen.