Sitting over three floors at the top of Canary Wharf’s 127m-high Novotel building, Bōkan launched in 2017 with a restaurant on floor 37, a bar on floor 38 and a roof terrace on floor 39. With a strong focus on fine dining, its recently appointed executive chef Guillaume Gillan (who was formerly head chef at the restaurant) has trained under stalwarts Alain Ducasse, Paul Augier and Joël Robuchon and is honing his expertise to continually develop the menu in line with the best of British seasonal produce.
A bright, spacious, modern and relaxed interior – in the bar, high tables and chairs line the edges of the floor-to-ceiling windows, presenting stunning 360-degree views of the Thames and the city beyond. Downstairs, the restaurant space mirrors the cosy palette of the bar, with soft brown leather and rustic wooden tables. Wherever you sit there is a view to admire, from the docks and waterways of Canary Wharf below to the sunset orange panorama silhouetting the myriad shapes of the London skyline in the distance. It’s modern and vibrant, yet comfortable and relaxed.
After enjoying a decadent egg white-topped cocktail from the bar’s extensive list, we were welcomed to our window table on the 37th floor with an artful bread dome to tear and share while we explored the menu and tried not to be distracted by the mesmerising views. With a choice of starters and mains ‘From the Sea’ and ‘From the land’, we opted for the organic Pugliese burrata with grilled peach, basil and cucumber and melba toast, and the seriously good Portland crab meat with rhubarb and vanilla to start. At first glance, the seasonal spring flavours seem experimental but on tasting they work well together with equally effortless and delicious results. The mouthwatering halibut poached in matcha tea with red miso, English Swiss chard and hijiki (a type of seaweed) followed, as did the fresh casarecce pasta, cherry tomatoes, lemon thyme and aubergine foam, which was one of the finest pasta dishes we’ve ever tasted. The desserts are as much of a visual marvel as the view outside. Our vanilla and lemon cheesecake with English strawberries looked almost too good to eat but was too tasty to ignore, and the delicious selection of sorbets was artfully presented in individual ramekins with chocolate dipped biscuit sticks.
A three-course meal for two is around £150 with wine and an aperitif cocktail.
Gillan’s exquisite dishes are perfectly complemented by the fun, relaxed vibe, delicious drinks and breathtaking city views.
Bōkan 37, Floor 37-39, 40 Marsh Wall, London E14 9TP; bokanlondon.co.uk