Even the most dedicated advocates of Canary Wharf would be hard put to place ‘diverse range of quality eating-places’ at the top of its list of attractions. ‘Chain hell’ might be closer to the mark. Indeed, the worse and more ‘commercial’ the chain is, the more prominently its premises seem to be sited. All to do with the strength of the ‘covenants’, presumably.
Perhaps it’s the less-than-prominent position which explains why we’ve long overlooked the family-owned Amerigo Vespucci, tucked-away off Cabot Square – near the ‘action’, but slightly removed from it. If you can bag one of the elegantly shaded outside tables, it offers a top setting for a sunny day lunch. Inside, however, prepare for a style nightmare as only Italians know how, circa 1995. (It was recently refurbished apparently, but you’d never know.)
And the food? Well, it’s not ‘advanced’ much since the mid-’90s – if food really can ‘advance’, that is – but it’s solid and satisfying, real and generous. The menu is so long that you wonder how they do it, but nothing seemed to go very wrong. Service ditto. A certain amount of love seems to have gone into the wine list, which has a number of decent choices at relatively modest cost.
So this is not the place to impress your best client and not a place for foodies, either. But for a more informal sort of lunch – for business or pleasure – you could do very much worse. Especially round here.