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Property: How Barratt London’s Bermondsey Heights offers Zone 2 value

Developer’s South Bermondsey scheme is on the edge of major local regeneration projects

An artist’s impression of Barratt London’s Bermondsey Heights scheme

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“People are smart nowadays, they’re not just buying somewhere because it’s a great place to live – they’re looking at lots of different elements and whether they’re going to see capital growth on their purchase,” said Yolanda Jacob, sales and marketing director at Barratt East London

“Even if they stay for five years, they want to see a property will be a good investment for them. 

“Buying at the beginning of regeneration is nearly always the best time to purchase, because you’re going to see capital growth because of everything that’s going on in the area.”

We’re discussing Bermondsey Heights, the developer’s latest south-east London scheme. 

When complete, the Ilderton Road complex will house 163 one, two and three-bedroom homes as well as 32 shared ownership apartments, rising to 26 storeys at its highest point.

This includes the Skyline Collection, a clutch of properties spread over the top four floors with an enhanced specification and, presumably, the best views the scheme has to offer.

Barratt has a bit of a track record in building developments in areas that then go on to see vast swathes of regeneration unfolding, with buyers enjoying the upswing in property values and boost in amenities that result. 

Maple Quays at Canada Water and Enderby Wharf on Greenwich Peninsula would be two examples. 

This could well be true for Bermondsey Heights as well.

The development features views across London from its communal roof terrace

Over the road to the north, Renewal has plans for some 3,500 homes, office spaces and, potentially, a new Windrush Line station on land surrounding Millwall FC’s ground. 

For context, New Bermondsey is a scheme comparable in size to Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich or Kidbrooke Village.

“House prices locally are forecast to rise by 25%, which is huge compared with other areas,” said Yolanda.

“People who bought at the start of similar schemes in Brixton, Shoreditch or King’s Cross will be very happy with their investment after five or 10 years. 

“These are destinations people now go to for socialising, entertainment and shopping.”

Alongside New Bermondsey, British Land’s 12-year redevelopment of Canada Water – complete with a new town centre – is also within walking distance of Barratt’s scheme and will benefit buyers.

But what will those future residents actually be purchasing? 

“Each apartment will have outside space – either a winter garden or a balcony,” said Yolanda.

“They have open-plan living areas and kitchens with all your appliances, finished to a high specification. 

“Buyers can have the option to choose a colour scheme – they can bespoke the apartment and pick flooring, tiles, carpets and bathroom decor.

“The designs are very fresh, clean and bright. 

Apartments feature open-plan design

“We also offer furniture packages, with designers who can come in and help buyers personalise their home.

“Then there’s a concierge service at the development as well as a podium garden and a roof terrace for residents.”

While some developments come stuffed with facilities, Barratt’s approach in South Bermondsey is to pare back its offering to keep service charges down in a move it believes will be attractive to buyers.

“These days new-builds offer so many options,” said Yolanda. “There are developments offering cinemas and golf simulators, but you’re going to pay a lot for those facilities.

“What we want to do is make sure we’re building homes that are affordable, and where they don’t have the worry of having to pay thousands of pounds a year on service charges, for facilities they may not use that much.

“In the middle of London such amenities can easily be found and we don’t want to tie people into spending lots of money on things they don’t want to use. 

“Our aim is to cover the basics and then leave it up to personal choice.

“That way we can keep the service charge to around £3 per square foot, which is attractive to buyers.”

Bermondsey Heights is located within 10 minutes’ walk of South Bermondsey station for services into London Bridge. 

Residents can also walk 15 minutes to Surrey Quays station for Overground services on the Windrush Line and connections to Canary Wharf within two stops.

One, two and three-bedroom homes are available

“It’s a largely unregenerated area at the moment with industrial units, workshops and warehouses – but there’s a major injection of funding coming and it has brilliant backup with its neighbouring places,” said Yolanda.

“You’ve got Deptford down the road, which has seen quite a bit of a resurgence in popularity as well as Surrey Quays and Elephant And Castle, which have already seen extensive regeneration.

“Then there’s New Bermondsey in the pipeline.

“Bermondsey Heights for people looking for affordability and somewhere they can put down some roots.

“It’s an interesting proposition in terms of pricing – statistics from JLL show we’re about 19% lower compared with other Zone 2 developments across the capital.

“That’s been a huge draw for people whether they’re buying for investment or to live in because they can see lots coming here and that the infrastructure is going to improve.”

An explanation, perhaps, for the fact Barratt’s scheme is already more than 50% sold.

Be quick.

need to know

Properties are now on sale at Bermondsey Heights through Barratt East London.

Prices start at £490,000. 

A new show home is set to launch at the development in May, 2024, with further details available online.

Find out more about Bermondsey Heights here

Read more: How Kircket is set to bring its Indian cuisine to Canary Wharf

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Royal Docks: How DAT Adventures hikes and retreats aim to help participants reach peak performance in their lives

Jenna and Julian Dominique have joined forces to offer physical exercise and coaching in east London, Yorkshire and Vancouver, Canada

Jenna and Julian Dominique run their business from Royal Docks in east London

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There’s an energy about Jenna and Julian Dominique.

Together since their teens, they’ve spent years exploring the globe from their base in east London – often theming trips around physical challenges or experiences – and all while pursuing different career paths.

Jenna, raised in Chingford, is a business, career and pitch coach with a complement of brightly coloured blazers and a speciality in public speaking and hosting events.

Julian, brought up in Leytonstone and Wanstead, is a fitness instructor, personal trainer, tutor and lecturer at the University Of East London, where, more than a decade ago he landed a job at SportsDock just as its extensive facilities were bequeathed to the institution by the American basketball team following the Olympics.

Having settled in Beckton, the couple have brought their talents together to create DAT Adventures

“We first came up with the idea a few years ago and did some research around it,” said Jenna.

“When you’re physically active – thinking about your health and wellbeing – you’re also more productive. 

Participants on an urban hike from Royal Docks to Tower Bridge

“DAT is all about trying to help our clients maximise their potential and improve their performance.”

Starting out with urban hikes from UEL’s Royal Docks campus to Tower Bridge via the Thames Path around the Isle Of Dogs and then venturing to Box Hill in Surrey, the company’s natural evolution is to take its founders’ expertise and combine them on retreats.

“We’ve always travelled – to Egypt, Japan, South America – and we’ve based many of those trips around activities such as climbing or swimming,” said Jenna. 

“Julian has had personal training clients who have said they’d love to do something similar but hadn’t had the opportunity.”

Julian added: “Many are desk-based or working from home, so I’ve been helping them with things like posture – but since Covid there’s also been a lot more on the mental health side.

“We know from our own experience that being outdoors in nature is great for that and from the hikes we’ve done that doing something physical and having tangible goals people can achieve is really good.”

DAT’s urban hikes take in the sights and some local history

This year, DAT plans to host retreats in Yorkshire, with participants tackling the three peaks led by qualified mountain guide Julian in June.

This will be followed by another in Vancouver, Canada, with a range of physical activities on offer.

Both will also include one-on-one coaching sessions with Jenna with a tailored action plan produced to help participants work towards their personal and professional goals – with follow-ups after for guidance and encouragement.

“This is a big year for us, with these two retreats,” said Jenna.

“We’ve spent time in both places testing everything so we know the areas very well and have made friends there. It’s something a bit different, not just Yoga. 

“Our urban hikes have tended to attract city workers – often people with startups or businesses who want to give themselves a bit of a break by getting out of the workspace and exploring.

“With those we’ve offered personal coaching during the hikes and that’s had a really nice impact.

DAT’s next retreat will take place in Yorkshire

“The retreats offer something more structured.”

For Yorkshire, that includes a full three-night itinerary with development sessions woven in around the hiking and the food – all of which is included in the price.

Julian said: “There’s a real focus on nutrition for health and wellbeing – we’re aiming to make the meals quite a big part of the retreat.”

The couple have teamed up with Michaela Hanna, a private chef and MasterChef The Professionals contestant from Yorkshire for their UK retreat.

“People need to consume the calories before they burn them,” said Jenna.

“The goal for us is to make sure we’re doing something really beneficial. What we’ve done already has been really good and the feedback has been great.

“For Yorkshire, guests will stay at the Three Peaks Barn, which offers hot tubs, a sauna, a pool table, beautiful rooms and has amazing views of the Ribblehead Viaduct.”

Julian added: “The challenge is to do the hike in 12 hours – we begin at 5am. I’ll be taking the lead on that.

“We last did it in 10 hours, but that was during the pandemic and the pubs were closed.

“In addition to meals at the barn, Michaela will meet the group halfway through the hike and provide lunch from her vehicle.

“After the retreat, I’ll always be on hand for anyone who wants advice on exercise or nutrition – they’ll also become part of my personal training community.”

This will be followed by a trip to Canada later in the year

Vancouver will offer a similar timetable albeit with an extra night and a greater focus on other activities.

These have yet to be confirmed but, alongside hikes, are likely to include climbing and paddle-boarding as well as an opportunity to take in some of the sights.

What is clear is Jenna and Julian’s passion for delivering memorable, productive adventures.

In essence it’s how they live their own lives and their business is an extension of that.

key details

DAT Adventures’ forthcoming retreat in Yorkshire is set to take place from June 5-8.

Places cost £850 per person or £1,530 for couples and include all meals, accommodation, retreat guide services and personal coaching sessions.

The retreat size is capped at 10 people.

The company’s retreat to Vancouver will take place from October 27-30 and costs £1,850 per person or £3,330 for couples and includes two meals a day, all retreat activities, accommodation, personal coaching and retreat guide services.

The retreat size is capped at eight people.

Travel to the retreat locations is not included in the packages.

Find more information about DAT Adventures here

The Vancouver retreat will include a range of outdoor activities

Read more: How Kircket is set to bring its Indian cuisine to Canary Wharf

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canada Water: How The Founding offers homes with views across London’s skyline

British Land and AustralianSuper’s regeneration of Canada Water see first homes hit the market

An artist’s impression of The Founding

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Just over a month ago, something momentous happened in London’s property market.

British Land and its partner, AustralianSuper, celebrated the topping out of their first phase of development at Canada Water

Dominating that site is the steel-clad edifice of The Founding, the project’s first residential tower, and every inch of its 35 storeys a flagship structure.

While its neighbouring buildings will contain a leisure centre, workspace and places to eat and drink, apartments mean people in residence 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, a potent addition to an already thriving south-east London community.

The building boasts views of central London and Canary Wharf

Over 12 years, the wider 53-acre site will have much more to come but our focus here is on what The Founding will offer as a place to live.

“It contains 186 apartments and the views from every side are fantastic,” said Simon Capp, head of residential sales at British Land. 

“We’re super-lucky in that we’ve got low-rise geography locally overlooking Southwark Park to the west and Canada Dock to the east. 

“Architecturally, it’s special, designed by Allies And Morrison, who have a strong track record in large-scale towers.

“It has quite an industrial, urban aesthetic – appropriate for Canada Water, which historically has been a hard-working part of town dealing with shipping and cargo.

“It has a warehouse-like feel.”

A show home interior at The Founding

Head inside, though, and while there are some stylistic nods to industry, there’s also plenty of home comforts.

“All the interior architecture has been created by Conran And Partners, which has a really strong track record in luxury hotels and premium residential developments,” said Simon.

“We have two show flats – a one-bed and a two-bed – available for buyers to view at the marketing suite.

“The properties feature oak flooring and Crittall-style windows as well as concrete-style worktops, wooden kitchen cabinets and open-plan design.

“The building predominantly houses one and two-bedroom apartments, with around 15 three-beds on the upper floors with fabulous views and studios also available.”

Kitchens include Samsung appliances as standard

Residents can expect Samsung appliances as standard as well as underfloor heating and comfort cooling in one, two and three-beds.

Properties come with LED downlighters and track spotlights in the coffered ceiling areas of living rooms, sizeable bathrooms and balconies with views across London.

“Even for this first phase, we’ve got a very good level of enlivenment in the form of restaurants, cafes and bars,” said Simon.

“We’ve started work on the transformation of the courtyard, which will be completed late this summer.

“The Founding’s proximity to the station means it’s about a minute to get from the building’s lobby to the Tube and Overground services.

“As a residential offer, this is really one of a kind.”

With more than a decade of work taking place locally, The Founding is also well located to avoid much of the construction that is in the pipeline.

By the end of this year work to renovate Canada Dock will be complete meaning residents can move into The Founding safe in the knowledge that no significant building work on the project will take place on adjacent land.

The tower features three roof terraces

Instead they’ll be able to take advantage of Asif Khan’s bridge over the docks and a new food, drink and cultural destination that will be installed at Surrey Quays as regeneration takes place further to the south and east. 

“Canada Water is already a fully established place – a very nice neighbourhood,” said Simon.

“Our Canada Water project is more of a revitalisation  – stitching something really exciting into what is already a well-established community.

“We’ve taken what we’ve learnt from other large scale developments such as King’s Cross and putting that into action.

“There will be a great mix of residential and commercial space and, with the dock, we’re working to increase the biodiversity to make this an even better place to live – a fresh and lively district.”

The Founding itself includes three roof terraces for residents to use as well as communal spaces for work and relaxation.

Further perks include three years’ membership to a London cycle hire scheme as well as bike storage for each apartment.

Ideally located for public transport, buyers can be in Canary Wharf or London Bridge within minutes, with the Windrush Line offering rapid access to the likes of Whitechapel, Shoreditch and Dalston. 

Simon said: “Given that rents are currently high, people are looking to purchase.

“We’ve been getting interest from a mix of buyers including people who work in Canary Wharf, some of whom don’t want to live there and are looking for something a bit different.”

Studios, one-beds, two-beds and three-beds are all available

key details

Prices at The Founding start at £704,000 for studios and one-beds.

Two-beds start at £986,500, while three-beds are expected to start at around £2million. 

Properties come with a circa 500 year lease and an estimated service charge of £6.56 per sq ft. 

Find out more about The Founding here

Read more: How Kircket is set to bring its Indian cuisine to Canary Wharf

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canary Wharf: How YY London is a total refurbishment of one of the Canary Wharf estate’s most prominent buildings

Quadrant Estates and Oaktree Capital Management’s scheme has produced a wealth of cutting edge workspace on the dock edge

30 South Colonnade has been transformed into YY London

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Canary Wharf is going through a period of renewal.

Often quite quietly, buildings on the estate are being refurbished to a greater or lesser degree – taking infrastructure that’s anything up to 30-plus years old and giving it a serious rethink to meet the demands of corporate tenants today. 

Hard to imagine, perhaps, but large sections of the estate were designed and conceived before the internet was a thing.

While work on the likes of 25 Cabot Square and near neighbour One Cabot Square might have gone largely unnoticed – Credit Suisse employees barely getting to enjoy the renovation before the bank’s distressed sale to UBS meant relocation to the City – other projects have been more obvious.

The scaffolding has been up on Citi’s tower for some time and those arriving in Canary Wharf via the Elizabeth Line will likely have clocked 25 North Colonnade’s transformation into Cargo – complete with Market Hall’s street food traders and bars on its lower floors. 

Arguably the most prominent project on the estate so far, has been the complete stripping back and refitting of 30 South Colonnade.

The building now features entrances on two different levels for easier access

One of the original Canary Wharf buildings completed in 1991, for years its orange share price ticker greeted commuters arriving on the Jubilee line while it was home to Thompson Reuters. 

It was bought by Quadrant Estates and Oaktree Capital Management in 2019 and, with the completion of the project to update it, one of the most recognisable buildings in Canary Wharf is now ready to embark on a fresh adventure. 

Renamed YY London after its distinctive cladding, reportedly its top four floors are set to become home to the UK’s most valuable fintech company, Revolut.

The biggest success to come out of Canary Wharf Group’s Level39 will not have landed far from its One Canada Square origins.

But what will its staff and other future tenants be getting from this reinvented chunk of real estate?

“It’s a people-centred design, which will know where occupants are and will respond to them,” said Yohance Harper, partner at Quadrant.

“From the community point of view, the downstairs reception lets you link into a space where you can have coffee, be comfortable and come and sit, away from the office.

The building offers a range of floorplates with various finishes available

“It also gives you planned interaction with other floors and colleagues, which is always great.

“The LED display as you come in is inspired by the Reuters news ticker, but also connects to the water, nature and the weather outside – so visitors will always have a varied experience.

“The systems have all been designed to tie together to make the building a really comfortable environment to work in.

“People are coming back to the office now and they want a Grade A space – this building addresses that really well.”

A tour reveals an attractive package for firms considering a move. Underfoot there are floors tiled in outsize terrazzo, a living tree in the multi-level reception area and access in direct from the Tube exit for the first time. 

The building’s curious central void has been filled in housing lifts and lobbies with sustainable walnut flooring and a central staircase that’s been deliberately exposed and lit to encourage people to walk between levels rather than take the lifts.

In fact, there’s a focus on wellness throughout with antibacterial bannisters, UV filtration systems and plenty of cycle storage that comes complete with changing facilities and showers.

Nearly all floors also have outdoor space, with a communal event space and terrace on the roof that will host wellness classes from Third Space once a quarter.

Tristram Gethin of Quadrant Estates

Gone are the small square windows and white marble cladding of the original design. 

YY is all about big, bold glazing, plants draping down its exterior and bathing in healthy light inside and out despite being at work.

“We had a year before the lease expired when we bought the building to work out a scheme for it,” said Tristram Gethin, founding partner at Quadrant.

“We brought in architects Buckley Gray Yeoman who have done some stunning refurbishment work and they came up with what you see today.

“We took off the top two floors and added three new ones, relocating the core services into what had been the atrium.

“Outside space was a key requirement and we’ve added that on every level except the 12th floor and also added an incredible terrace on the top.

“Today we have a 415,000sq ft building ranged over 14 levels and we’re extremely proud of the space we’ve created – it’s fantastic.

The top four floors of the building will reportedly house challenger bank Revolut

“It’s a complete change of design and feel for a building in Canary Wharf and it’s been really well received by everyone whether that’s workers in the offices or residents.”

With two restaurants and a cafe also set to take space in the building, those lamenting the loss of All Bar One and The Slug And Lettuce have plenty to look forward to.

While the identity of the future hospitality offerings remains under wraps, there’s recognition that adding to the mix on the estate is all part of what makes it an increasingly attractive proposition for companies.

“In the City, we’ve seen a huge take-up and the supply of Grade A office space is limited,” said Tristram.

“Canary Wharf still offers very good value for money compared with the West End where you’re looking of rents at £120-£200 per sq ft. 

“In the City, new Grade A office space is going to have to be £85-£100 and so a new development here makes sense.

Most floors have outdoor space including one with a vast wraparound terrace

“For us, the rents are around £55-£65 – exceptionally good value.

“YY London is slap-bang in the middle of Canary Wharf with the DLR and the Jubilee stations so close – it couldn’t be more central.

“The Elizabeth Line is only a two-minute walk away. 

“I’m a great believer in the Wharf. A mixed-use destination is much more attractive to people coming in and that’s what it’s become.

“There are more people here now than ever before and it’s continuing to grow all the time.

“It’s quite a young population living here too, which is also good.

“I think the Wharf has been reinventing itself and many people have not been so aware of that.

“Some remember only the estate as it was 15 or 20 years ago and see a very changed place when they visit now.

“I think Canary Wharf Group is doing a fantastic job promoting the area, but that needs to continue so that people become more aware of what it has to offer.”

One of those attractions is sustainability – something the YY London project has at its heart. It’s an all electric building and benefits from being a refurbishment rather than a completely new venture.

Yohance Harper of Quadrant Estates

Yohance said: “We’ve reused and maintained a lot of the main structure by really going into great detail with the design team. 

“Buildings are one of the major contributors to carbon emissions around the world and that’s helped us reduce our impact on the environment.

“Then our tenants’ presence inside will be key.

“YY London responds to that in every way whether it’s the lights in the lifts to the air temperature and lighting in a meeting room that’s been booked.

“All these things help the building to be more efficient in terms of energy.

“We feel all this is a very solid statement in the next step of development in this area and it’s going to be very exciting to see what else it inspires.”

All electric, YY London is targeting an impressive array of sustainability measures including BREEAM Outstanding with reduced water consumption, smart systems, low energy lighting, central heat pumps and a great deal more.

With Canary Wharf Group’s initiative to bring a wealth of biodiversity to Middle Dock in partnership with the Eden Project, right outside YY, there are, perhaps, no greener locations to admire the coming flora and fauna.

But make no mistake, Quadrant and Oaktree’s scheme is certainly not austere or uncomfortable.

From its richly planted roof terrace to the numerous partnerships it intends to enter into with local businesses, life at YY London should be rich, from dry cleaning to getting your bike fixed.

This place has it all. 

The top floor of YY London features communal spaces including an outdoor terrace

key details

Space at YY London is available now, with tours available to interested parties.

Floorplates of 30,000sq ft or more are available on levels one through nine at present.

Find out more about YY London here

Read more: How Kircket is set to bring its Indian cuisine to Canary Wharf

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canary Wharf: How The Pelligon breathes new life into the East Wintergarden

Broadwick has refurbished and renamed Cesar Pelli’s events space, making it a blank canvas for organisers

The East Wintergarden has been renamed The Pelligon – image Henry Woide

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Having served the Canary Wharf estate for 21 years, the East Wintergarden is no more.

Well, not exactly. The exaggerated steel and glass barrel vault of the events venue’s roof will continue to preside over functions – but new operator Broadwick has given the place a makeover.    

The Pelligon – renamed for the building’s architect, Cesar Pelli – has seen its original interior replaced with a more functional, blank canvas – leaving clients free to dress and adapt the space to their needs.

Gone is the zig-zag marble floor, the warm brown panelling, the glass balustrades and Cesar’s trademark stainless steel.

Instead Broadwick has gone for white cladding and a practical dark rubber underfoot with a lighting rig tastefully sprayed in unobtrusive matte black. 

“Canary Wharf Group is quite keen on developing culture on the estate and, now we’ve moved our office to Wood Wharf and launched Broadwick Studio underneath, this looked like a good opportunity to bring the East Wintergarden into the 21st century,” said Simon Tracey, group CEO at Broadwick, during a sneak peek of the venue this month.

“We’ve gone for a very simple palette, trying to make it as neutral and hybrid as possible, that is our strategy.

The interior of the venue has been given a neutral makeover with new spiral staircases so guests can easily access the mezzanine level – image Spaces And Stories

“You could do literally anything in this space and we’ve installed state-of-the-art production facilities to make that as easy as possible.

“What we try to do is to imagine making events simple for organisers – so The Pelligon has got great access and is a totally blank canvas space, allowing brands to put their stamp on the place – it’s very exciting.

“We’ve done three things to the building itself.

“We’ve simplified the colour scheme and brought it up to date.

“We’ve improved the flow of the venue – the mezzanine used only to be accessible from outside the main hall, so we’ve put in two staircases and we’re also now using the front doors as the front doors.

“Then finally, we’ve updated the back of house facilities including extending the kitchen facilities, which were previously too small to cater for the kind of events people wanted to do here.

“We’ve given it everything it needs to operate as a modern day venue with a vibrant feel.”

Following its rebirth as The Pelligon, Wharfers can expect a number of public events as well as private affairs – delivering a bit of a cultural boost to the southern edge of the estate.

“The original East Wintergarden was designed as a utility space for Canary Wharf, but I think even they would say it’s a fantastic location in need of updating,” said Simon.

The mezzanine level can now be accessed from the main hall – image Spaces And Stories

“What they were interested in, when talking to us, was preserving it as an amazing space for conferences and weddings, but also attracting brand experiences and launches.

“We’ll also be working to our skill-set in terms of music and consumer-led awards ceremonies, jazz festivals and gigs. 

“Now the space is more of a blank canvas – it opens it up and Canary Wharf is turning into a place where people don’t just come to work, but also to visit, to live and play.

“We’re very much part of that journey.

“Because of the type of business Broadwick is, when people come to our offices, they are routinely amazed by what Canary Wharf has become.

“From a predominantly financial business district, it’s changed into something entirely different and a thriving residential area.

“People need culture and – Broadwick believes that and Canary Wharf Group believes it. Collectively we can bring that to the estate.”

Located minutes from the main Jubilee line exit and a short walk from Canary Wharf’s Elizabeth Line station, The Pelligon is well placed for incoming audiences as well as local businesses who may wish to use the waterside venue for their own events.

It’s a venue Broadwick is keen to see thrive, having relocated its operation to the Wharf while British Land works on updating Printworks London at Canada Water – part of a 12-year regeneration of 53 acres on the other side of the river.

But the completion of that project – expected in 2027 – won’t see Broadwick abandon the Wharf.

“We will be moving our entertainment team back there, because it will once again become a big venue – but we’ll be retaining staff here,” said Simon.

“We have a lot of venues across east London and there seem to be a lot of opportunities in this part of the capital.

“Broadwick has its heritage in festivals and we’re still in that world, but those events can be very up and down.

“One wet date and it takes the business a couple of years to recover.

“What running venues does is enable you both to control the weather and to finesse what it is you’re doing in those places every single week.

“With annual festivals you have a debrief, you learn things, but it takes an entire year to put them into practice.

“With a venue, we can sit down right away and analyse what went well and what didn’t. Did we have enough bars?

“Were there enough toilets? What was the customer experience like?

“Were the staffing numbers right? What was the feedback on socials?

The Pelligon dressed for an event – image Spaces And Stories

“We’re fanatical about that process and we can react immediately.

“What’s most important for Broadwick is creating amazing experiences for people and running venues allows us to do that better.

“We’re also a property development company at heart.

“We’ll look at opportunities, develop spaces, turn them into events and leisure venues – then put our own content in and take them to market.

“We’re always interested in talking to as many people as possible because we’re not big enough on our own to activate all our venues. 

“Fortunately there’s a whole world of brands, corporates, film and TV companies who we love to work with.

“Our model is to build these spaces and develop them so they are as good as they can be. Then we’ll back them by using them ourselves and work with other people as well.”

Into that mix drops The Pelligon.

But what will Broadwick’s clients do with it?

key details

The Pelligon is now available for event bookings including conferences, brand launches, performances and weddings.

The venue can accommodate up to 1,000 guests depending on the set-up and extends to some 900sq m of space.

Find out more about The Pelligon here

Read more: How Kircket is set to bring its Indian cuisine to Canary Wharf

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Blackheath: Why Mohamed Mohamed isn’t sentimental about his sculpture Old News

Piece depicting Boris Johnson’s face in precisely sliced newspaper can currently be seen at Blackheath’s Millennium Circle

Mohamed Mohamed’s Old News, as it appears today on Blackheath

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As we stand beside the head of Boris Johnson on Blackheath, a young spaniel scampers up and urinates on it.

After I mention to the four-legged critic’s owners that I’m with the artist who created the sculpture, they’re immediately full of apologies and dash off with the same nervous energy as their canine charge. 

Mohamed Mohamed, however, welcomes the act.

For him, Old News, is just that.

He’s already set fire to it at Speaker’s Corner and, having been made, run its course and suffered symbolic destruction, it has now returned to the streets of Greenwich like the discarded newspaper it started life as.

He’s not sentimental about it – surprising, perhaps, given the effort that went into creating it.

“I built my own machines so that I can physically sculpt things,” said Mohamed.

“I’ve been an industrial designer since the age of 14 and, after graduating from the London College Of Communication, I’ve worked for large format fabrication companies in their research and development departments.

“When the pandemic struck I’d just signed a lease on a workshop in Greenwich and then I was furloughed.

“With Old News, I had been developing slicing capabilities – how to accurately cut an object at higher and higher resolutions.

Old News shortly after completion – 6,277 pages of newspaper

“3D printing uses this technique and it’s similar to the idea of pixels in an image. 

“The first thing I made was using sheets of cardboard, then sheets of metal and then newspaper at 0.3mm per slice.

“The first Covid lockdown was kicking off and I collected newspapers.

“I had to remove the staples from every copy and iron each sheet. While I was doing that, I was thinking about what to make and Boris’ face was everywhere.

“I produced a digital version of him using photogammetry, which uses images from many different angles to create a 3D map.” 

Mohamed used this to cut some 6,277 newspaper pages, working in layers of five to precisely reproduce the former prime minister’s head in three dimensions – stacking them on a steel base plate with precisely calibrated bars holding them in place.

Artist and designer Mohamed Mohamed

“To iron the newspaper took a week, to cut it was three weeks, and to assemble it was me in a dark room for another three,” said Mohamed.

“There’s a level of dedication – of sacrifice to be able to make something honestly like that. Before I made my own pieces, I made work for lots of other people.

“If an artist uses a 3D printer or wields a violin themselves, that’s one thing. If you’re paying someone to do it for you, to me, that’s something else. 

“I’m not qualified to judge whether it’s better or worse, but for me personally, I have to physically feel the sweat on my brow, and that links me with my work – that I have physically done it.”

During our conversation, the topics of truth and process come up consistently. Both sit very much at the heart of what Mohamed does. 

“I have been making art as a way to sharpen my skill-set for as long as I can remember,” he said.

“It’s a gymnasium for my brain – you create geometry or a thing that doesn’t have to solve a problem – I just have to challenge myself to do it.

“In an art setting, you’re just expressing what’s inside you. 

Detail from Penny for Your Thoughts – Heads, 2023 – made with found pennies by Mohamed

“While I work, I pick up litter and that’s what my sculptures are made from. I’ve always been very much into environmental causes  and we’ve got a lot of stuff going into landfill.

“If you’re creative, you can turn those objects into something else.

“So I collect lots of things – I’ve picked up coins, a toothbrush and gambling pens on the way here – I have thousands of them in a bucket and I have lots of buckets of different things.

“I listen a lot to the Quran and I see the fineness of art in the world around me.

“The purest art would be the sunrise itself – then a painting of it, a scan of that printed out and so on. 

“I know I’m not going to be at the top of that hierarchy, but I can take secondary creations like empty bottles of beer and turn them into something else. 

“For me, it’s about taking objects which have been discarded – that someone felt were worthless – and giving them worth.

“I gather things then ask what skill level I’m at and what physics and technology will allow me to do.

Mohamed’s Cleave, 2020 -made with playing cards and a #7 clamp

“I use things like CNC machines or 3D scanners, but I’m not deluding myself – they are just tools, no different than a pencil.

“They allow me to produce what I want to create better.

“The beauty of it, for me, is the engineering element. Anthony Gormley is one of my favourite artists and I like how his pieces are made, how the magic is done, which no-one ever looks at.

“People might appreciate the message of a piece, but if an artist concentrates too much on that, they end up trying to sell you a message.

“Then what’s created is no longer art, it’s just decoration. 

“When I work, I am trying to distil my skill level – my entire life’s work – into a physical object and then move on.

“I’m not then sentimental about that piece – it’s made.” 

Mohamed, who has Palestinian roots and lives and works in Lewisham, uses the example of a tree.

While its trunk, branches, leaves and blossoms might appear impressive at any one time, he says he sees the whole growing process – the complete history of the entity.

He said people looking at his art were often considering the fruit of the tree, rather than seeing this story.

It’s one reason why those viewing his work may wish to be wary of interpreting his pieces as overtly political.  

“The fact Old News features Covid and Boris is irrelevant to me, but significant to others,” he said.

“The beauty of art is that it doesn’t have to mean anything to me – I’m just the vessel for the thing and other people analyse it.

“If I was making Old News today, it would be about the Palestine conflict – 10 years ago, it would have been about weapons of mass destruction.”

Detail from Rock Paper Scissors, 2021 – made with marble, dagger and money

need to know

Old News can currently be found at the Old Donkey Pit, also known as Millennium Circle, at 0º longitude on Blackheath. 

Find out more about Mohamed Mohamed here of find his work on Instagram here

Read more: How St James’ Bow Green development is at one with nature

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Isle Of Dogs: How Canary Garden is bringing some life to land beside South Quay Plaza

The newly opened market hosts a cafe, food stalls, a florist and workshop facilities beside the dock

Canary Garden is located on South Quay overlooking Canary Wharf

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One of the criticisms levelled at regenerated parts of London is that they can lack atmosphere.

Crisply manicured parks might look great as the promise of “public realm” is dangled before planning officials.

But the Isle Of Dogs is littered with odd chunks of land that don’t really do anything. Perhaps there’s a tiny kids playground, a few benches, a fountain or a sculpture.  

So it was with a paved area of dockside waterfront on the corner adjacent to Sierra Quebec Bravo (a rebrand from the rather unimaginative South Quay Building) and South Quay Plaza’s Hampton Tower.

Despite its impressive views over West India South Dock towards Canary Wharf and Wood Wharf, this neatly finished open space had no obvious function – other than as a thoroughfare for pedestrians enjoying a waterside walk east, before diverting down to Marsh Wall to cross the Millwall Cutting bridge.

Canary Garden’s Oscar Tang

Enter Canary Garden founder Oscar Tang, local resident and entrepreneur.

“My wife Nadine and I live in one of the towers at South Quay Plaza and one of the things we’ve observed is that people have started to move in after the pandemic and the demographic is ever-changing,” he said.

“There are younger people from every corner of the world coming to the Island, but we’ve also found there are not many activities going on.

“The developers have built this infrastructure for a high density of residents, but not necessarily the amenities – there’s not much feeling of community.

“That’s why we thought it would be good to do something.”

Thus Canary Garden was born, a project to inject some life into an underused patch of land that’s just about to get into its stride. 

Part cafe, part farm shop, part florist and part street food market, Oscar’s vision has arrived in the form of a series of greenhouse-like structures and wooden kiosks that will offer an array of attractions.

 “We thought this place was really under-used and it could be much more fun – that’s where it all started,” he said. 

“During Christmas we started to test out a few things to see what the neighbourhood was interested in and what people wanted.

“The immediate local area can be awfully boring at weekends – even the Pret is closed on Saturday and Sunday or after 4pm or 5pm on weekdays.

“We wanted to make this somewhere people could bring their family for a chilled out session and to enjoy a bit of sunshine, hopefully.

Florafind sells bouquets and offers floristry workshops

“We often go out to the countryside for a bit of freshness, a change of mood from the concrete city.

“That’s what we wanted to create here at Canary Garden.

“It’s based on wooden structures because we really wanted to build this as a reflection of nature.

“One of the disadvantages of living in an apartment in a city is that you don’t have a back yard and nowhere outdoors to spend time.

“At Hampton Tower there are 56 storeys, 2,000 people living on-site, but there is not much around the area – why not create something like a backyard?

“The idea is not too complicated.”

Already in place is a cafe, with indoor seating spread through three greenhouse-like structures.

Also up and running is Florafind, a florist offering bouquets and workshops.

Then there are a series of pine food kiosks which, from this month, will offer an array of culinary delights.

“We will have five food traders in total,” said Oscar.

“We’ve picked them from all across London and have tried to create a theme – at the moment the focus will be on oriental dishes.

“Each will celebrate a different cooking technique or niche dish.

“The first has a focus on the marination of ingredients, for example.

“The second will serve a particular type of noodles from the Chinese city of Suzhou, which is close to Shanghai.

“It’s a very traditional soup dish with one kind of noodle, two kinds of base, three kinds of topping.

Richly flavoured vegetarian noodles from Lu at Canary Garden

“The third will be Hong Kong street food, cooked by a lovely couple who graduated a few years ago and started their own business to bring the younger generation’s understanding of the cuisine there over to the UK.

“Then, the fourth will be a halal barbecue – who doesn’t like that over the summer with a bit of drink? 

“Finally, we will also have a rotating trailer spot, where we’ll have guest traders when we sense there is a seasonal thing people might want.

“The next will be serving Malaysian cuisine with laksa on offer.”

With matcha brownies at the cafe, already a firm favourite, readers could be forgiven for thinking that Canary Garden is simply a food hall with great views and plenty of outdoor space.

But Oscar’s vision for the site is wider.

“We also intend to host other workshops and events including afternoon teas,” said Oscar.

“We’re already in touch with other organisers to see what we can include.

“That might include calligraphy, watercolour painting and aromatherapy.

“We’re also looking at theoretical beekeeping without the insects.

“We’re also working in partnership with the Wutian Martial Art Institute, which is based around the corner, so when the weather is warmer their kids can come and enjoy the outdoor space and do some activities.”

While separate entities, recent arrival Theatreship and forthcoming arrival Artship, will be neighbours to Canary Garden – something Oscar believes fits well with what it offers. 

“We have collaborated and for me, I call it toothbrush and toothpaste – two things that go together very well,” he said. “It works perfectly for their audiences.” 

key details

Canary Garden’s cafe is currently open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30am-5.30pm. Food stalls are open from noon-8pm.

Group workshops at Florafind take place on Saturdays and Wednesdays and cost £90 per person for two hours.

Times vary and refreshments are included. Children’s workshops are available too and start at £55. 

Find out more about Canary Garden here

Read more: How St James’ Bow Green development is at one with nature

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Property: How Royal Albert Wharf has unveiled homes in its final phase

Collection of apartments’ release marks last chance to buy at riverside scheme near Gallions Reach

An artist’s impression of the final phase of Royal Albert Wharf

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A decade and a half ago, Royal Albert Wharf looked very different.

Located at the eastern end of Royal Albert Dock, with the curve of the Thames behind it, today the area’s 15-year regeneration project is approaching completion, with the launch of its final phase of properties.

NHG Homes is set to release 58 apartments for sale at the scheme in spring, 2024, arranged around a communal garden square that opens onto the Thames Path riverside walkway.

Lined with trees, this route also leads to a children’s playground overlooking the river.

One, two and three-bedroom properties will be available, all featuring outdoor space in the form of balconies or private terraces. 

Prices start at £375,000 for a one-bed with two and three-beds from £494,995 and £634,995 respectively.

Inside, the apartments feature open-plan design with Bosch appliances integrated into the kitchens, fitted wardrobes, built-in storage and separate washer-dryer cupboards.

The development also features a concierge service, a dedicated workspace and lounge area plus parking included as standard with three-bedroom properties.

The final phase is located right by the Thames Path

All residents get access to cycle storage facilities and the on-site car club, should they need four-wheeled transportation.

In contrast to buying a home off-plan at a scheme where work is just starting or halfway through, the majority of Royal Albert Wharf’s amenities are already in place. 

NHG Homes’ head of marketing and digital, Amie Triphook Cole, said: “Royal Albert Wharf has quickly become the place to be in the Royal Docks.  

“There’s a flourishing community of creators, businesses, young professionals and families who call this neighbourhood home, and with this final phase of homes, now is the last chance to buy a new home at this award winning development. 

“Our residents enjoy the perfect blend of riverside views, plentiful on-site amenities and access to lush green space, all within homes designed with active, convenient and modern living in mind.  

“I encourage buyers to enquire with us today, so that they don’t miss out on this last opportunity to buy in one of east London’s most exciting areas.”

Apartments are arranged around a communal garden square

Royal Albert Wharf already enjoys a wealth of local amenities with food and drink served by the likes of the Well Bean Cafe and Cafe Spice Namaste, owned by celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala and his wife Pervin.

There’s also a monthly market selling fresh produce, street food, arts and crafts and plans for an on-site gym, nursery and a convenience store. 

The development is also home to a number of artists and makers in studio spaces administered by Bow Arts, as well as local creative collective Art In The Docks, which regularly hosts exhibitions and events.

Royal Albert Wharf is located within easy walking distance of Gallion’s Reach DLR station offering direct connections to a host of east London locations.

Royal Albert Wharf has seen extensive regeneration in recent years

It also connects residents to the Elizabeth Line at Custom House and the Jubilee line at Canning Town, both making for easy journeys to Canary Wharf and beyond.

Prospective buyers will also likely be pleased at the prospect of a DLR extension to Thamesmead, an area undergoing three decades of regeneration.

The connectivity already in place means Royal Albert Wharf residents live within easy reach of the cultural and retail attractions of Stratford and Greenwich Peninsula as well as Canary Wharf.

More locally, the University Of East London is within walking distance and Excel and City Hall are a few stops away on the DLR.

The scheme is also close to Beckton Gateway retail park, which hosts big brands such as B&Q, Dunelm and Pets At Home.

key details

There are 58 properties available in the final phase of Royal Albert Wharf.

Prices start at £375,000 for a one-bed and £494,995 for a two-bed.

Three-beds start at £634,995, which includes parking as standard.

Find out more about Royal Albert Wharf here

First-time buyers Nate and Bianca in their Royal Albert Wharf home

CASE STUDY

Nate and Bianca moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Royal Albert Wharf in April 2021.

The first-time buyers purchased their home at NHG Homes’ east London scheme for £372,500 with a deposit of £56,000.

“We couldn’t find this quality and this location for the same price anywhere else,” said Nate, who works in cybersecurity in Canary Wharf.

“I started renting in central London, moved north, then east and then, most recently, south of the river – I pretty much experienced it all over six years as a tenant.

“I decided my last rental experience would be the last – I’ve rented in shared flats, and on my own, and it’s never really an easy process.

“Buying an apartment is a big deal, but the NHG Homes sales team made every moment as easy as possible.

“It was probably the best experience of buying a house you could possibly have.”

Bianca, who works in the events sector in Woolwich, added: “We looked at quite a lot of properties but struggled to find a home that ticked all of our boxes. 

“We wanted to find somewhere that gave us access to open space, fresh air and was close to the Thames, as well as giving us shorter journeys to work.

“Royal Albert Wharf was the perfect fit.”

Unusually, three-bedroom apartments come with parking space included

Transport connections certainly helped sway the couple, with Nate especially impressed by his new commute and the development’s connections to airports.

“I used to travel an hour and 15 minutes to Canary Wharf, and now it only takes me 25 minutes door-to-door,” he said.

“I also fly frequently for work – travelling to Heathrow or Gatwick was such a pain and added hours onto each journey – but now London City Airport is very convenient and perfect for business travel.

“Knowing you’re half an hour from your front door when you land makes a big difference.”

For Bianca, the quality of the apartment, its features and facilities played a decisive role in the couple’s decision. 

She said: “The apartment is really spacious, light, and bright – the layout is one of the things that encouraged us to buy here. 

“We’d looked at quite a lot of properties within our budget and this floorplan was by far the best use of space we’d come across.

“It felt so much bigger than homes of a similar size.

“We were adamant about having enough space in the bedroom, which always tends to be the smallest space in a London flat.

“There’s also so much cabinet and wardrobe space.

“When we first came to view the property, we walked in the door and it was by far the best place that we’d seen. 

“I could picture us living here immediately and planned out where everything was going to go – it was such an easy decision to make.”

Find out more about Royal Albert Wharf here

Read more: How St James’ Bow Green development is at one with nature

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canary Wharf: How Kricket and Soma are set to bring late night Indian flavours to E14

Restaurant and bar in Frobisher Passage will see the Soho success story move east with a 2am licence

Kricket co-founder Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell outside their Soho restaurant

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Kricket is set to try something different in Canary Wharf.

Over recent years, the estate’s restaurant and bar scene has flourished thanks to a torrent of new arrivals.

The likes of Dishoom, Hawksmoor, Mallow and Oysteria have built on the solid foundations laid by Amerigo Vespucci, Roka and Boisdale Of Canary Wharf to transform the estate into a compelling culinary destination.

However, even with a wealth of destinations to choose from, finding food after 10pm can be challenging.

While some venues are open until midnight and a few don’t close until 2am, they are the exception rather than the rule.

But Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell feel this corner of London is now right for a venue that cooks into the small hours.

“We’ve got a late licence on the site so we can open to 2am, which is great for our bar, Soma, but we’re also going to use that for our restaurant, Kricket, and do the full service until late, on the nights that demand it – Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” said Rik, who co-founded the business with university friend Will in Brixton.

“It’s a selling point and I think we can get a following going for it.”

Bhel puri at Kricket

Will, who works as the business’ executive chef, added: “We took a lot of our team over to Mumbai in January this year – many have been with us for five years or more – as we wanted to show them the city we were inspired by.

“There’s a lot of late-night eating there and we thought it would be great to recreate that vibe – Mumbai really is a 24-hour city, even if London isn’t.”

There’s something fitting, perhaps, in the arrival of a cutting-edge brand in Docklands that started life in a shipping container in Brixton.

Those metal oblongs were themselves a transformative force for shipping – their introduction one of the factors that left the docks obsolete, clearing the way for Canary Wharf to emerge.

“We started Kricket in 2015,” said Will, who went straight to work in a London kitchen after university in Newcastle, before moving over to India.

“I cooked the food and Rik served the customers.

“It was like a foray into the darkness – we didn’t really know what we were doing until we opened – then we learnt as we went along.

“From there, we opened in Soho in January 2016.”

A Junoon cocktail at the restaurant

Rik, for his part, had always wanted to work in hospitality but spent time at Deloitte in corporate finance before joining forces with Will.

Their Soho venture was a success and Kricket now operates three sites – a restaurant under railway arches in Brixton and another in White City.

“Having been in India, we wanted to showcase what we’d seen there,” said Will.

“When I was first over there, I was running a European restaurant – but I was always more interested in what I wasn’t cooking.

“In London at the time, there were high-end Indian fine dining establishments and curry houses with very little in between.

“It was about waiting for an opportunity and that was the container.”

Rik added: “We were young – in our mid-20s – and naiveté was bliss.

“We did 50 covers on our first night – mostly friends and family – but we had no kitchen porter and no bar.

“A lot of time we would get out of trouble because Will’s food is so good.

“We had a lot of fun, just focused on the food and service and worked really hard doing 90-100 hour weeks. 

“It was an important part of the journey, but you couldn’t pay me to go back there now.”

Pandhi pork curry

The buzz the duo created won them recognition and a shot at Soho, attracting a line of diners with an open kitchen and counter service.

“Eventually they took on the space next door, opening basement bar Soma at least partly to lucratively lubricate those waiting in the queue.

It’s this combination that will inform their forthcoming Canary Wharf branch – tentatively expected to open in July, 2024, at Frobisher Passage under the DLR.

“The site was in a very unassuming building, quite un-Canary Wharf, but Rik said we must go and see it,” said Will.

“It’s underneath the DLR, quite tucked away, opposite Blacklock

“Neither of us had been to Canary Wharf for about 10 years, and we’d assumed that it wasn’t really where we wanted to be.

“But when we went over there, we were really surprised by how much it had changed.

“It’s a full seven-day operation with an established community – lots of committed residents,  people visiting and staying locally.

“You can get to our Soho branch near Piccadilly Circus via the Elizabeth Line in less than half an hour.”

So what can people expect from the new venue when it opens its doors?

“Kricket is our interpretation of Indian food,” said Rik. “It’s such a varied cuisine – there’s so much to learn and to eat.

“Our menus are constantly changing and we showcase local ingredients in dishes that are designed to be shared, just as they are in India.”

Will added: “We’ve designed the restaurant so people can come on their own, as a couple or with eight or 10 people for a feast.

Mussels Goan chorio and other assorted dishes

“We have dishes from £2-£45 so it’s accessible.

“The most expensive one is really a big showcase of a plate.

“We’ve always had open kitchens, which is unusual for an Indian restaurant and it’s how we like to eat – up at the counter.

“Then there will be Soma, which will have a different feel and its own entrance.

“If Kricket is a bustling market-like place, then Soma is the quiet little sister – a little broody and underground.

“In Canary Wharf it will be India and beyond with a definite Japanese influence and elements from across Asia.

“Our Soho bar was formerly a Japanese gentleman’s club so we’ve taken inspiration from that in the classic style of the drinks. High quality and reasonably priced.”

While the last time Will and Rik ate together at Kricket they had the steak with garlic bread, when asked for guidance, Will was clear.

“Start with the tomato rasam pani puri (£2) and then have the bhel puri (£7.50),” he said.

“The first is an explosion in your mouth and the second has been on the menu since day one.” 

Anyone else salivating?

key details

Kricket and Soma are set to open in Canary Wharf’s Frobisher Passage in July, 2024.

Find more information about Kricket here

Read more: How St James’ Bow Green development is at one with nature

Read Wharf Life’s e-edition here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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West India Quay: How the Isle Of Man is seeking to boost its foodie exports

Museum Of London Docklands hosts Manx firms as they look to capitalise on UNESCO designation

Outlier’s Hoolie Manx White Rum was part of the showcase

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The docks may have closed 40 years ago but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely defunct as a part of the import and export sector.

The Isle Of Man is currently on a mission to boost its foodie exports, including seafood, alcoholic beverages, salt and cheese, as it attempts to shift the balance of its economy and bring greater prosperity to its inhabitants. 

The world’s only whole-nation UNESCO Biosphere reserve – described as a learning place for sustainable development – had brought producers down to the International Food And Drink Expo at Excel in Royal Docks, opting for a further spin-off showcase at the Museum Of London Docklands on West India Quay.

These included the likes of shellfish from its sustainably managed King Scallop Fishery – available at a selection of top London restaurants, dairy produce from the Isle Of Man Creamery and hand-harvested sea salt from the Isle Of Man Salt Co.

Rick Dacey of Outlier

It’s especially apt that a space in a listed former sugar warehouse on the edge of a dock that was once a major receiver of imports should be used in this way– better still that one of the products on show should be a rum.

Outlier itself is an importer as well as an exporter.

It buys-in cane molasses, but otherwise uses exclusively local ingredients to create its products.

Available in Harrods or to buy online, it is at present still a small concern.

“Hoolie is our 41% white rum and it’s the first one made in the British Isles to be sold at the department store,” said co-founder Rick Dacey.

“That’s not bad going for a couple of guys working in a shed on a farm.

“We’re called Outlier because we are that, both philosophically and geographically.

“We’re doing our own thing – we’re not interested in producing millions of bottles.

“We want to have fun with it and we’re happy to be quite polarising.

“Some people don’t like our bottles and I’m happy about that because at least they have an opinion. 

All milk produced on the Isle Of Man is processed by a cooperative

“The way we produce it is laborious – two middle-aged men in a Rocky montage chopping wood and throwing it in the still – so it’s a proper craft product.

“We make it from scratch. The Isle Of Man has very clean air and water which is good for the booze and it’s going down well with the rum crowd so why deviate from that? 

“The Isle is a small place, but it has some great producers so it’s great that it’s getting some government support.”

 Another company eager to boost its overseas activity is the Isle Of Man Creamery

“We’re a cooperative of 28 dairy farmers on the island,” said Findlay Macleod, its managing director.

“We bring in all of the milk that’s produced there and process it into cheese.

“On the Isle Of Man, our cows are out eating grass for a minimum of 200 days every year, which means they’re enjoying a natural diet.

“That makes for a healthier milk and provides a better base for our award-winning cheese that regularly wins national and international recognition.

“We export to Canada, the USA, Australia and the UK as well. We’re hopeful to find further distribution in London in independent stores and in top restaurants.

“My favourite is our Vintage Red Leicester – it goes with anything and it’s a beautiful cheese. A really wonderful product.”

Isle Of Man Creamery’s Grass Fed Vintage Red Leicester

Read more: How St James’ Bow Green development is at one with nature

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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