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10th Nov 2012 9:09am | By Carol Driver
This smart gastropub has awards coming out of its ears, so our hopes are high when my friend and I visit on a Friday night.
The scene It’s 7.30pm, but not packed – there’s only one other table seated in the cosy, white-tableclothed dining area at the end of the smart but traditional pub bar.
There are regulars supping pints of trendy brews – we guess they’re regulars as there’s a head-turn moment as we walk through the door.
It’s cold, so we don’t venture outside where, in summer, scores of people sit on the large riverside terrace, overlooking The O2, enjoying beer and Pimm’s.
Around the rest of the pub there are perfect-for-winter old-fashioned fireplaces, and the warming deep red, chocolate brown and jet black colour theme is carried throughout.
As we dine, the place fills up and almost all the tables at the front of the venue are taken.
The staff are friendly but a little too attentive, with four different people coming over to see if our mains are OK.
The grub Spot-on. I’m sceptical about my roast cauliflower and winter truffle soup, thinking it might be bland, but it’s brimming with flavour and spices.
Across the table, the fresh, seared Isle of Man king scallops with confit garlic are being devoured, getting the thumbs up.
I’m not keen on risotto (the only veggie option on the menu), so the chef whips me up gnocchi, served with spinach, pine nuts and herb butter.
My friend tucks into a delicious pan-fried fillet of sea bass. The food is so good, there’s silence at our table.
We’re far too full for dessert, but we order anyway.
The baked dulce de leche cheesecake with salted caramel popcorn is divine, and the hot chocolate cake with ice-cream is melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
Behind the bar An incredibly impressive, 15-page menu of champagnes and wines from around the world, plus cocktails and specialist bitters, ales and other beers.
Bill please Starters from £6; mains from £12.50; desserts from £5. Cocktails from £8; wine from £4.20/£16.50 per glass/ bottle; pints from £3.60.
Verdict This is the place to visit if you like pubs with top-quality grub.
27 Coldharbour, Docklands, E14 9NS
Tube | Canary Wharf