Stepping out of the tube at Canary Wharf, I cannot help thinking of New York. Tall skyscrapers lining the streets instantly bring back memories of our time living in The Big Apple. The daytime hustle and bustle of this busy financial London area is replaced after hours by a fun evening atmosphere. Between the Thames and the docks you are never too far from the water here, which adds to the overall charm of the area.
The intricate geography means that reaching Bōkan on the south side of the South Dock, takes about ten minutes from Canary Wharf tube station. Perched at the very top of the Novotel building, Bōkan is a unique bar, restaurant and roof terrace set over 3 floors with exceptional views of London.
Bōkan has a cosy atmosphere with an industrial decor, dimmed lights and a 360° view of the city on display through full-height glass windows. You could come for the view only and enjoy the bar, but it would be a shame not to stay for dinner.
Bōkan prides itself on its artisanal UK sourced fare and Bōkan’s latest Vegan Tasting Menu does not disappoint. Thanks to the talented Aurelie Altemaire, former head chef at Michelin starred L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, plant-based dishes take on a brand new dimension here.
Bōkan’s Vegan Tasting Menu is clever and elegant. Simple, British seasonal ingredients such as beetroot, cabbage, kohlrabi and Swiss chard are given centre stage to become the stars of the show. Each dish is bursting with flavours and originality.
So that we can fully enjoy the spectacular views, our attentive hostess made sure that we are seated by the window. We spent the first five minutes completely spellbound, pointing out London landmarks on the horizon. Our cordial and witty waiter, Guillaume, adds to the overall relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Let our vegan feast begin!
After a Cauliflower Mousse amuse bouche we dig into Bōkan’s Vegan Tasting Menu which includes five main dishes, each of a generous size.
The colourful organic Cornish beetroot, rainbow radish, borscht sorbet and pomegranate was a fresh and crispy first course, paired with a tangy dressing and topped with beetroot sorbet. The blend of flavours and soft and crispy texture was divine and refreshing.
The revelation of the meal was the truffle & dashi broth with organic cabbage. Yes I know, cabbage! So good it would convert any cabbage-snob out there. This plant-based version is based on the slow-cooked seabass, truffle & dashi broth, organic cabbage and smoked bacon dish from the Bōkan regular menu. According to our waiter this is a customers’ favourite. Unexpected and utterly delicious, this was a vegan dish bursting with umami and flavours.
I probably will not be saying this ever again, but the organic cabbage was always going to be a hard act to follow. Our next dish of glazed kohlrabi with white swiss chard ragu and green swiss chard puree, though perfectly acceptable, was not as exciting.
Our fourth dish of handmade ravioli pumpkin, wild mushroom and Lautrec Garlic was again delicious, sprinkled with coated pumpkin seeds adding sweetness and crunch. Once more here the flavours blended perfectly so we did not miss the dairy or cheese at all.
After this cornucopia of plant based dishes, I was glad the dessert was not cake. Hot chocolate sauce was expertly poured by our waiter over our poached pears “Belle Helene”. Served with toasted almond and an apple sorbet, this was a fresh yet indulgent dessert. Our meal ended with herbal tea and coffee while we continued to enjoy the London night skyline.
Whether you are vegan or not, Bōkan’s Vegan Tasting Menu (£65 for five courses) is superb and I highly recommend it. Clever and versatile, the food has a simple elegance which we really loved. All the plates were beautifully presented and the attentive and friendly service made for a very enjoyable evening. With a focus on British produce, European flair and breathtaking views, this is a unique destination and a high-end dining experience, perfect for special occasions or a romantic date.
Floor 37-39, 40 Marsh Wall
London E14 9TP
T: 020 3530 0550 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bookatable offers a great selection of vegan dining experiences across the UK. Check their selection of vegan menus here.