Harden's survey result
For a “decent” lunchtime or post-work pizza, salad or steak, these “cheap ’n’ cheerful” cafés around the City and Canary Wharf receive a number of recommendations.
For a “cheap and cheerful” meal in areas like Canary Wharf and Bank this chain of “buzzing” diners generally proves an effective standby (even if it doesn’t quite convince all reporters) – pizzas are “authentic” and portions “generous”.
In the Good Old Days of the Twentieth Century, people earned their money in the Square Mile, and spent it Up West. Nowadays, however, the old order has broken down. You find City-type firms in Mayfair, and Mayfair-type shops in the City. At the Royal Exchange, for instance, there's now a concentration of jewellers with few rivals other than Bond Street. The same sort of walls-falling-down effect is perhaps less evident on the restaurant front. But now - not far from the Exchange - the City has gained an outpost of what's long been one of Mayfair's top places for a fun meal at a reasonable cost.
The City branch manages to be surprisingly true to the original. It similarly has a handy-but-obscure courtyard-location, which gives the impression that it's something of a secret known only to local cognoscenti. In fact, this impression is even stronger at the City branch, where the whole operation hides away behind an anonymous door, above a very comfortable-looking cocktail bar.
The dining room itself is a rather quirky affair, with lots of natural light, and odd-but-interesting roofscape-views. It makes a buzzy but well-spaced setting for an informal lunch. As in Mayfair, most of the menu is salads (some of them pretty substantial) and pizzas (some of which are slightly odd). Neither is going to set the world on fire, but all the food is competent, and service friendly and efficient. The wines are considerably more interesting than you might expect, too, and reasonably priced. In fact, with Bollie at £45 a bottle, this is the sort of place where it would be rude not to celebrate.
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Last orders: 10.45 pm