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Canary Wharf: Marugame Udon brings a wealth of fresh noodles to Cabot Place

Brand’s European CEO Keith Bird on rolling out the Japanese super brand’s ‘amazing’ value and quality

A chef nets freshly cooked udon noodles in the open kitchen
A chef nets freshly cooked udon noodles in the open kitchen – image Matt Grayson

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Marugame Udon is the latest restaurant to open its doors among a clutch of new arrivals around the rotunda at the top of Cabot Place’s escalators.

It’s located opposite Gallio, German Doner Kebab and what’s soon to be Neat Burger – so there’s certainly plenty of choice in the area Canary Wharf Group has decided to dub Atrium Kitchen.

But a few things make the massively successful Japanese brand stand out.

It’s not the smiling welcome (somehow communicated despite the face mask), it’s not the fancy strip lights hung to look like drying strands of noodles, it’s the sheer attention to detail being paid second-by-second, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour by those running the place and producing the food. 

Embarking on its 22nd year, the business has grown from one restaurant to around 800 in its native Japan with 1,250 now trading worldwide.

Canary Wharf is its third branch in the UK – following launches at Liverpool Street and The O2 – with St Christopher’s Place already in the pipeline and many more to follow.

Marugame Udon European CEO Keith Bird
Marugame Udon European CEO Keith Bird – image Matt Grayson

Away from the inevitable talk of roll-outs and bottom lines, however, the key ingredient for the brand’s European CEO, Keith Bird, is fun.

“You could stand and watch this kitchen all day – I feel like I’m Willy Wonka in the udon factory,” he said.

“I love hospitality, it’s in my blood. When I was doing an MBA, a guy called Tony Hughes came in and did a talk about retail, restaurants and leisure.

“I’d spent my time in telecoms and banking and from what he said, hospitality sounded like the area I wanted to work in.

“The principle he was talking about was very simple – that if you look after your team, they are going to look after the guests.

“If the guests are happy, they’ll come back more frequently, and then the business flourishes, it grows, and you keep investing in that virtuous circle.

“Sometimes businesses that struggle lose sight of that.

“You need to make sure that your team live the values, understand the business, really want to be here, so recruit them well, train them well and treat them well.

“Even with our delivery drivers we make sure we have a place they can fill up their bottles because they’re carrying our precious cargo.

“In the restaurant it adds up to a special element you can’t really codify. It’s something about the energy – if people are happy in a great environment, guests want to be a part of that.

“So when customers go down our line with a tray it’s show time – you get the theatre of seeing everything being made and served in front of you.

“We want people to have lots of fun – that’s why you’ll hear the shouts as ingredients are prepared, but it’s something that can’t be forced, the staff have to want to do it and that’s what great hospitality is all about.

“That’s fundamental for Marugame – we want to serve delicious food, but also want to lift people’s lives a bit.”

Noodle-like lights at the Canary Wharf venue
Noodle-like lights at the Canary Wharf venue – image Matt Grayson

With calls of “Fresh Udon” peppering the air in the kitchen, the theatre of cracking sous vide poached eggs into bowls and pints of Asahi beer that miraculously fill from beneath via a Bottoms Up machine, there are plenty of acts to observe.

But that’s not to say things aren’t taken seriously.

“We’ve got our Udon master, who has come over on a one-way ticket from Japan – he’s here for at least five years and probably longer,” said Keith, who has worked with brands including Wasabi, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Flight Club.

“The point is to make sure that the udon is absolutely perfect. We take it to the point of obsession that the ratio of flour, salt and water is correct.

“We go through a real process of making sure it matures, so you get the full flavour.

“Even the hardness of the water is measured on the Clark Scale. We have a really sophisticated water quality system to make sure every portion of noodles is absolutely perfect.”

An egg delicately cooked in its shell
An egg delicately cooked in its shell – image Matt Grayson

That level obsession has resulted in a special vacuum machine that sucks a very specific amount of moisture off the noodles after cooking – aimed at helping them to pick up the flavour of the broth or sauces they’re put with.

“You can have the noodles in their purest form – Kamaage, which are served straight from the pot with either a sweet smoky dashi dipping sauce or a vegan version for £3.45,” said Keith.

“Or you can have them in a light fish or vegan broth for £4.45.

“Then we’ve got loads of exciting dishes including a Chicken Katsu Curry Udon for £6.95 and a Chicken Paitan also for £6.95, which is sliced pieces of chicken thigh in a rich chicken soup with a poached egg that’s cooked sous vide in its shell and cracked into the bowl.

“Then we have a big Beef Nikutama with caramelisd onions in a sweet smoky broth and an egg for £8.45.

“That’s probably my favourite – it’s really satisfying and the ingredients balance really well with the udon.Seeing the shell crack open and a cooked egg drop out is sensational.

“Then there’s our range of tempura – deep fried in front of the customers.

“We offer loads of different pieces including prawn and chicken and it’s great for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet because we have sweet potato, pumpkin, red pepper, asparagus and courgette.”

Tempura ready for diners to serve themselves with
Tempura ready for diners to serve themselves with – image Matt Grayson

Tempura dishes range from 85p-£2.25, with customers able to serve themselves as they make their way to the till.

Keith said: “I’ve helped loads of amazing businesses in my career but the difference with this one is you have an offer that is for everyone.

“Udon is for the rich, the poor, the young and old – it’s healthy, amazing value, and we have a team here that want to make your experience with us the very best it can be.

“This is one of Japan’s super brands for a reason and to make it accessible to people here is really exciting.

“There was a survey in the country ranking all the top brands and Marugame came in at number 14 – one above the iPhone. 

“We chose to open in Canary Wharf for our third restaurant because it’s a place where people work, but also where they live – and that’s important for us. 

“There’s a solid population and a good Asian community as well and many know the brand already.

“Like any restaurant serving food from a particular country, you know it’s going to be good if there are people of that nationality there.

“That makes a good foundation for us, but it’s also about the people who will discover Marugame – Europeans who haven’t been to Japan.

“The Wharf is fantastic, it’s growing and ever-changing with housing going up on the estate and around it.

“We did this deal during the darkest times of Covid, but we believed that if you go to a great place that has always done well, with a great reputation and great shopping it will work.

“Workers are important, of course, but it’s the resident population that’s the key.”

Chicken Katsu Curry Udon, served in a reusable bowl
Chicken Katsu Curry Udon, served in a reusable bowl – image Matt Grayson

Visitors to Marugame can also rest assured the brand is doing its bit for the environment.

“In addition to beer filled from the bottom – which is great theatre, we have wine in cans which is better for the environment,” said Keith. 

“We’ve got good green credentials. One of our key values is doing the right thing.

“All our packaging for takeaway and delivery is recyclable, so there’s no plastic in there, and we’re trying to minimise everything we possibly can.

“We practise the fundamentals of reduce, re-use, recycle – a simple but very effective message.

“You come in and there’s a bowl that gets used and then re-washed, and will be used hundreds and hundreds of times, and that helps as well.

“It’s important for our team as well, because they want to work for a place they believe in – the faith we put in them and they put in us, to do the right thing, keeps this journey going.

“We want to make Canary Wharf proud of us. We want to do something really special here and we think the brand can go in many other locations in the UK.

“It’s on the money and we’re delivering for customers.”

Read more: Shutters opens its doors in Canary Wharf

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Canary Wharf: How Darren Bruce helps gym-goers hit their goals at Third Space

The elite personal trainer has spent 20 years coaching clients at the Canary Wharf club

Third Space elite personal trainer Darren Bruce
Third Space elite personal trainer Darren Bruce – image Matt Grayson

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Learning to move in the right way is crucial to avoiding injury and achieving your goals through exercise.

So says elite personal trainer at Third Space in Canary Wharf, Darren Bruce

If anybody knows, he certainly ought to. Typifying what the massive gym in Canada Square offers, Darren has a wealth of expertise, having competed at the highest levels as a sportsman.

As a boxer he was a challenger for the IBO Welterweight World Title and is a former British kickboxing champion and county champion long jumper.

But he’s also spent nearly 20 years helping gym-goers achieve their own aims.

“I actually started working here when it opened in 2002 as Reebok Sports Club,” said Darren.

“I was being sponsored by a construction company at the time – I’d go to work for half a day and then box at a gym in south London.

“I’d had lots of breaks in my career but I’d decided I needed to think about doing something else, so I saw the marketing suite for the gym and went to see what it was all about.

“I already had a personal training qualification but they said they didn’t need trainers at that time so I started out taking boxing classes.

“That was pretty much brand new to me but I ended up having the busiest class at the club – that was my foot in the door.”

Darren began seeing clients one-on-one in 2004 image Matt Grayson

Two years later Darren got a job as a personal trainer after another member of staff left and has never looked back.

“At first making the transition from athlete to trainer was awkward – I’d trained at the highest level, so I realised I needed to gear things down, but in no time at all I got it,” he said.

“Personal training is about getting that relationship with the client right, getting them to believe in you and knowing your craft.

“I’ve worked beside some really great coaches over the years so I stuck close to a couple of those guys, learnt from them and studied. 

“My skills developed from there and they’re still developing – I’m always trying to evolve what I do, but I’ve stuck to my principles since starting personal training in 2004, and I still use the same approach.

“Safe exercise is first and foremost. You don’t want to injure your client – it’s a bad experience for them and they’re not going to come back.

“Then, everything is about sound movement patterns.

“Many people who come to me have desk-bound jobs and the best thing is to get them moving. 

“If I can make them feel that they are moving better and they’re getting stronger, then they’ll keep coming back and progressing – I still have the first client that came to me at this gym and she’s fantastic.”

Everything starts with a thorough assessment before Darren creates a bespoke series of exercises.

“The first time someone comes to me, we’ll do an evaluation,” he said. “I’ll ask them what their goals are, what their previous training history is like and whether they have any injuries. 

Darren's professional boxing background informs his approach
Darren’s professional boxing background informs his approach – image Matt Grayson

“From that process, I will go about devising a programme that’s dependent on that client’s goals and what they need to achieve them. Then we’ll work through it together.

“I think people should aim to train for a minimum of twice a week with a personal trainer helping them. 

“People shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking they can do this on their own.

“Our personal training clients at Third Space find they can get an extra 10% out of themselves with a coach.

“People generally don’t know how to improve themselves – that’s why we’re here to coach them in those movements.

“That’s important for safety too – if someone wants to do a high impact class they’re much better off seeing a trainer first because their movement patterns might be pretty poor and that’s something we can work on.

“That’s why it’s best to see a trainer more than once a week as progress is faster.”

As a trainer, Darren is able to draw on the countless hours of expert coaching he’s received over the years.

“Discipline is the most important thing,” he said. “You have to learn to focus and realise that progress doesn’t come overnight.

“When it comes to coaching boxing we can do the drills I used to do, but just spend less time on them so the client is always learning and progressing.

“Obviously it’s great when you have clients who want that specific combat expertise – if people want to spar we can do that in the ring here in a safe manner because I’m a professional.

“That’s one of the things that sets me apart because it’s not an easy thing to do. But the discipline of training for boxing is also great for general fitness. 

“The great thing about Third Space is there is so much of it – so much room – and the facilities are first class.

“There’s no waiting around, even at peak times, and it has everything you need.”

Membership of Third Space Canary Wharf costs £180 on a rolling monthly contract.

Personal training rates at the club are available on request, with a discount for new members on their first two sessions.

Group-wide membership for all clubs including City and Tower Bridge costs £210 per month.

New members get two guest passes, a meal or shake at Natural Fitness Food, 25% off their first treatment at the Canary Wharf spa and an ongoing discount of 5% as standard.

Read more: Why even exercise specialists need personal trainers

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Property: Estate agency Alex Neil sees rental demand drive lettings and sales

Area manager Georgia Nailard takes the market’s temperature and looks to the year ahead

Alex Neil area manager Georgia Nailard
Alex Neil area manager Georgia Nailard image Matt Grayson

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Much was written over the early months of the pandemic about the inevitable, lasting effects a period of home working would have on the nation.

Cities would become hollow doughnuts as workers fled areas dense with people to work permanently and remotely from desks in rural houses, meeting colleagues only via Zoom and completing assignments via broadband.

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a Metaverse – where we’re all constantly online, virtually popping in and out of each others’ lives from wherever we are in the world – will come to fruition. But perhaps not.

Far more likely is that genuine, real-life human interaction will once more reassert itself as the dominant preference for work and leisure.

Before Omicron pressed the pause button and Delta was all we had to worry about, workers had flooded back into Canary Wharf – not forced to be present, but eager to meet, work and, crucially, socialise with colleagues and friends.

There was buzz, industry and colour and there will be again. 

I’ve already read at least one columnist’s account of her abortive move to the coast followed by a return to London and all its delights, having discovered life beyond the city has serious limitations. 

While a sample size of one isn’t much to go on, this anecdote fits with a trend in the local property market as demand surges for rentals.

Georgia Nailard is area manager covering estate agency Alex Neil’s operations at its Bethnal Green And Bow and Canary Wharf offices.

She said: “Throughout the lockdowns no-one went to work. At first that was exciting, but it wore off pretty quickly and most people and businesses have realised how important it is to actually be in the office with other people.

“Working at home five days a week can be very isolating – going to the office isn’t just for the company’s benefit.

“Ultimately that realisation means people want to rent in close proximity to places like Canary Wharf.

“What’s happened in the last couple of months in the run up to Christmas has been quite dramatic – the rental prices we have been able to achieve are very different from six months before that. 

“In some cases we’re getting more for them than we would have before the pandemic, which is amazing and something landlords may not be aware of.

“There has been a slight shortage of rental properties coming back to the market.

“There has been a lot of uncertainty over the past 18 months and some tenants have been signing up for longer tenancies, meaning ultimately that there aren’t as many places available to rent.

“But the demand is there – usually we’d expect the market to slow down in December and we didn’t see that in 2021. 

“With the market like this, it means when a new property becomes available we can do a large open day for viewings and we’ll usually receive multiple offers, sometimes going over the asking price.

“Doing these events means we also build up a lot of prospective tenants for properties coming onto the market. 

“I expect similar trends to continue in January and throughout the year, I don’t see that demand slowing down.

“There are often changes of circumstance for people around the Christmas period too, so that may bring even more tenants looking.”

That demand is also benefiting the sales market as canny investors see the return of profitable yields to be had in Docklands, while house prices are driven by people’s increasing desire to live on the Isle Of Dogs and nearby in east London.

Georgia said: “The way the rental market is going at the moment, there are investors out there who have cash, don’t require a mortgage and will see the opportunity Canary Wharf presents – the yield on property in the area is unbelievable at the moment.

“As an agency we’re experts in marketing property and, with our international package, that’s where we offer something quite different.

“As well as being on all the main UK portals, we make sure the properties we sell get maximum exposure here and across the world, which is really important.

“It’s about making certain that we’re angling each property at the right buyer, thinking outside the box, being proactive and educating buyers.

“Right now investors are looking for quality rather than quantity.

“It will take time for the sales market to fully recover from the pandemic, but we are starting to see some positive signs, with the numbers of applicants rising and many people looking to sell.

“Ten years ago, I think people saw the Canary Wharf area as a place to rent, but now you are seeing buyers who want to move here for the foreseeable future, with existing residents looking to upsize.

“People want to stay here because of how much it’s changing – the pubs, restaurants and bars that are opening, for example.

“The quality of the buildings here is fantastic – they have so many facilities and many of the older developments are located right on the Thames with great views.”

Georgia says she always wanted to be an estate agent
Georgia says she always wanted to be an estate agent image Matt Grayson

Georgia said Alex Neil’s role was to make moving home as easy as possible for all concerned, whether that was for buyers, sellers, landlords or tenants.

She said: “I grew up in Brighton and my dad was a car salesman – he was always selling something and had that motivation.

“We moved house quite a lot when I was younger and I loved going on viewings, so I grew up wanting to be an estate agent.

“I love working with people and helping them move – it can be one of the most stressful times in someone’s life as property is usually their biggest asset – so we try to take the stress out of things.

“There are so many emotions involved with the process but we try to make it as smooth as possible, making sure everyone’s happy at the end of it. 

“The best way to do that is to be honest and to set everyone’s expectations at the start, rather than raising them to the point where they are unrealistic.

“We always tell people how we’ll start from ‘x’ and end up at ‘y’. For sales, that means from viewing to completion.

“A lot of people haven’t bought or sold for a good number of years and forget the process. In that time there may have been changes in technology or with other parts of the transaction.

“Everyone is different, so we have to adjust to each person, making sure they understand exactly what the process is and what the steps are, from signing the terms of business to completion.

“Leaving questions with someone will only make them confused so we try never to let that happen.

“It’s the same for lettings – we aim to make letting out a property as simple as possible, because it can seem quite overwhelming.

“That’s why we’ve developed a checklist so landlords know exactly what they need to do and what they must have at every stage of the process.

“That’s what makes us stand out in the market – we’re the experts and we’ll help you every step of the way.”

Read more: Hamptons launches new office in Canary Wharf

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Canary Wharf: Shutters opens doors at two sites in One Canada Square’s marble lobby

Restaurant, cafe and bar aims to offer hotel-style service to workers and visitors to the estate

Taskin Muzaffer of The Happiness Cartel
Taskin Muzaffer of The Happiness Cartel – image Matt Grayson

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Organised crime syndicates are in my mind, having just binge-watched the latest series of Netflix drugsploitation epic Narcos: Mexico.

Fortunately The Happiness Cartel, which recently opened Shutters across two sites in the lobby of One Canada Square, bears little resemblance to the brutal mobs of Sinaloa, Juarez, Tijuana and Guadalajara.

But its creative director and founder, Taskin Muzaffer, does want Wharfers to keep coming back for more.

It’s one of the reasons why the group’s latest establishment is really three venues in one.

Firstly, Shutters itself has taken the shell of what was ETM’s One Canada Square, stripped out the walls, opened up the windows and painted everything white to form a welcoming, accessible restaurant and bar.

Secondly, head up its diagonal stairways and there’s Cartel – a separate bar space tucked away on the mezzanine, specialising in spirits and cocktails. 

Finally, look round the corner and there’s a cafe space called SuperNatural that shifts seamlessly from breakfast bar and lunch joint to wine bar after 5pm.

Shutters at One Canada Square
Shutters at One Canada Square – image Matt Grayson

That means there’s something available at all hours to keep Wharfers in a state of temptation, something that’s also down to the brand’s lineage.

“We started as a group in London, and, like most people, had a bit of a revelation in lockdown,” said Taskin, who previously worked for Drake And Morgan around the time it opened Shutters’ near neighbour, The Parlour, in 2009.

“Our first venue was Pedler in Peckham in 2014 (now reborn as Pedler Good Fortune) and we have always got a lot of our produce from Cornwall and Devon – in fact most of our fish came up from Cornish day boats on the back of a bike, so there was always that love affair with that area. 

“In 2017, we started looking for a site there, and finally opened the Unicorn On The Beach at Porthtowan in August of 2019.

“That ran really well until March 2020, when everything had to close. We decided we would keep the sites shut in London over last summer and the other members of the Cartel and myself moved to Cornwall, reopened the Unicorn and worked it as hard as possible last summer.

“Then the opportunity came up for us to purchase The Godolphin hotel in Marazion, which we renovated and briefly opened in December 2020, then properly in April 2021.

“We were very fortunate that both the Unicorn and The Godolphin had large outside areas so that was amazing when people could only be outdoors.

“Shutters was born in Cornwall as it’s the restaurant for our hotel there and we wanted to bring a slice of that back to London.

Looking down from Cartel
Looking down from Cartel – image Matt Grayson

“We’ve come to Canary Wharf with that service mindset. We essentially view anyone who passes by or who is working in the offices above at One Canada Square as a hotel guest. We want to be somewhere people can come back to multiple times a day.

“We’ve brought down the walls of the old restaurant and expanded out into the lobby, creating what we call a library area that is almost a co-working space.

“People can sit there with their laptops and have a breakfast or a lunch. It’s not bookable, it’s walk-ins only.

“On the other side of the lobby, SuperNatural serves our own Happiness coffee blend, hand-roasted in Cornwall, as well as fresh juice and smoothies. 

“In the morning you’ll see pastries and croissants – all those breakfast things – until 11am when salads with different proteins, like smoked chicken or smoked trout appear.

“Then at about 5pm it flips and becomes all about natural and low-intervention wines and build-your-own nibbles. Expect cured duck or venison done a bit like Parma ham, all made in Cornwall.”

Tuna tataki with pistachio at Shutters
Tuna tataki with pistachio at Shutters – image Matt Grayson

While the produce is Cornish, Shutters’ core menu has a pronounced American flavour to it, with dishes such as crab nachos and the Vegan Cali Sur burger.

“We wanted to give everything a kind of southern Californian twist,” said Taskin. “Cartel, for example will be doing nibbles and tacos. 

“Down in the restaurant we’ll be serving a lot of seafood dishes with those west coast flavours. 

“Personally I like the crab cakes – it’s the kind of thing you’d see on menus years ago but they’ve kind of disappeared. We’ve brought them back with a little twist – bois boudrin sauce, burnt leeks and anchovy mayo.

“I also really like the nachos, which come with a light cheese, scallions, pickles and a lime sour cream. They’re really, really good.

“As for drinks we have tank-fresh beer from Meantime, brewed about a mile away as the crow flies. 

“Otherwise we’re very much about cocktails at a reasonable price. Good value is something we’ve always tried to offer as a brand.

“We want people to come to us for breakfast, come back for a drink after work, meet their mate or a girlfriend or boyfriend for lunch and come back and have dinner.

“Maybe during the week you’ll have a glass of wine and only one course or a little nibble.

Shutters’ second site SuperNatural – image Matt Grayson

“Perhaps you’ll come back towards the end of the week and have three courses with a cocktail before or after. It’s all about creating different areas, different spaces, to make it exciting.

“You could be here having a chat with me now, then you might go and work over in the library this afternoon.

“Maybe then you’ll go over to SuperNatural tonight and meet friends and have a glass of low-intervention wine and a couple of nibbles on the board.

“Tomorrow you’ll maybe come in for breakfast or for lunch, or you might stick around for dinner.

“Then we have Cartel, which specialises in tequila and mescal with a range of 28 so far. There are some really special bottles to try. 

“We’ve tried to create something going on at all times, whether you want a quiet little corner just to get on with something, or you want to be a bit raucous.”

Shutters is set to reopen from January 9 followed by SuperNatural on January 17. Check opening hours and menus online.

Read more: How Hawksmoor constantly refines its offering

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Canary Wharf: How PT sessions at Third Space can help with fitness goals

Pilates and group exercise lead instructor Eve Powell on why she sought help with weightlifting

Eve Powell, Pilates and group exercise lead instructor
Eve Powell, Pilates and group exercise lead instructor – image Matt Grayson

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It’s January, the time when for reasons more traditional than functional, people take stock of their lives and pledge to make changes for the better.

But how to make those resolutions stick once the novelty value has worn off?

Wisdom is generally gained from experience, so a good starting point in any fresh venture should be to seek out the thoughts of those who are already pretty good at what you’re trying to achieve.  

With the festive bloat at maximum, increased exercise is generally bobbing around the top of people’s lists.

But motivation can wane rapidly, so I sat down with Eve Powell of Third Space in Canary Wharf to discover her tips for sticking with the programme and how she personally stays in shape and maintains her enthusiasm.

A certified Pilates coach and group exercise lead instructor, Eve has been described as “the superwoman” on Trustpilot by a gym member, who praised her “meticulous performance on the gym floor and in classes”.

Eve says personal training can help deliver motivation
Eve says personal training can help deliver motivation – image Matt Grayson

Having first qualified as a trainer while at university, Eve initially embarked on a career in the film industry before realising she got more out of her weekly combat class at the weekend than five days  spent on set.

“That’s when I made the transition to thinking I wanted to do it full-time,” she said.

“The main thing is the job satisfaction because we’re lucky to have endorphin-high, sweaty people telling us how great they feel at the end of a class.

“It’s a job where you help people and now, having got into Pilates, that’s even more the case.

“I’d never practised it before I joined Third Space – I’d done Yoga and thought it was basically the same – but my boss here asked if I wanted to go on a training course and I said yes because I thought it would be another skill to have.

“I’m so glad, because it changed my life and the way I train completely.

“Not knowing anything about it, I thought Pilates was good if you had a bad back, or if you were a bit older and your physio told you that you needed to do it.

“But I really fell in love with the history of it, the discipline and practice. It’s conditioning, building that strong, solid foundation for other exercises so you can run, lift weights and do Crossfit.”

Eve has a coach for her Olympic weightlifting
Eve has a coach for her Olympic weightlifting – image Matt Grayson

Another key element to Eve’s approach to fitness is seeking out one-on-one expertise, especially for those new to the gym or branching out into new areas.

“Using myself as an example, I’m a coach, but when I decided to take up Olympic weightlifting I went to a personal trainer because I was a total beginner,” she said.

“I had a bit of a head start because of the endurance, flexibility and mobility I’d built up with Pilates, but I needed someone with that experience.

“For people who are new to the gym, maybe they don’t even know what their goals are, so I’d recommend having a session with a trainer and trying lots of different things.

“That’s why Third Space is a great place to start because there’s so much to choose from here. Then we have so many great trainers it’s easy to work one-on-one with someone on general fitness or on something specific. 

“With weightlifting, it was a brand new skill to me and it’s so technical – I knew I would benefit from having the time and eyes of a coach. 

“It’s also easier to commit and to work on smaller short-term goals in pursuit of what you’re trying to achieve.

“The trainer I see is on me to hit those targets. If you’ve got a good coach, invested in you, and you’re investing in yourself, it’s amazing.

“I have that one hour where it’s me and her and I’ve got a goal – snatching a particular weight or focusing on my hip mobility in my overhead squat.

“Whatever it is, it’s my time with that person and I call it my therapy. In between sessions we stay in touch – I send her videos of my progress and I really miss it if I can’t make a session. It really helps with motivation.

“It also helps me from a professional standpoint because my trainer will use cues and commands while I’m exercising that I find I can use. 

“Even though the Pilates classes I coach aren’t the same, something that works for weightlifting might also work for me when I’m doing banded overhead squats with a group.”

From the other side Eve said one-on-one sessions gave trainers the chance to go into great detail with individuals.

She said: “You have more time to really look at a person’s body. You have time to ask the client questions and get their feedback, to find out where someone is feeling something and what it feels like for them.

“Initially, trainers use their first sessions to see how their client is moving, what their core strengths are and if they have any imbalances to address. 

“It starts with identifying a goal – what the client wants to get out of their time with a coach.

“That might be to lose some weight, to increase their fitness, to tackle an injury or some pain they’re getting or to improve their posture.

“Then the trainer will come up with an individual programme tailored to achieve that. In general that will be a 360-degree approach that delivers a full body workout as a way of delivering those goals.

“It’s also great for trainers because after I’ve had a session with someone I’ve always learnt something.

“Everyone has a different body. A cue that might work for one person might not work for another so you have to be very adaptive. 

“It’s a process of discovery, you have to make sure you’re using the right language. 

“You might have a client who spends all day working at a desk and has no knowledge of the fitness industry so you have to find a way to communicate that makes sense to them.”

Membership of Third Space Canary Wharf costs £180 on a rolling monthly contract.

Personal training rates at the club are available on request, with a discount for new members on their first two sessions.

Group-wide membership for all clubs including City and Tower Bridge costs £210 per month.

New members get two guest passes, a meal or shake at Natural Fitness Food, 25% off their first treatment at the Canary Wharf spa and an ongoing discount of 5% as standard.

Read more: Why exercise should be like brushing your teeth

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Canary Wharf: Why Bullards wants people to come and try gin at its Cabot Place shop

Founder Russell Evans talks brand history, putting a twist on recipes and the importance of tasting

Bullards' Canary Wharf gin shop and tasting room in Cabot Place
Bullards’ Canary Wharf gin shop and tasting room in Cabot Place

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Bullards offers something that no other shop in Canary Wharf does – a space dedicated to sampling and selling spirits from a single brand.

The company’s recently opened gin shop and tasting room on the lowest level of Cabot Place offers anyone who pops through its doors the opportunity to taste the products and a multitude of ways to take them home, should imbibing prove agreeable.

With successful branches already operating in Covent Garden, Norwich and Westfield White City it’s a model that’s already gaining traction on the estate. 

reaching out

“We’re bringing the brand to people,” said founder Russell Evans, having encouraged me to sample pretty much its whole range.

“We’d been selling gin locally to people in Norwich, online and through other people’s shops. 

“But our thought process was that while it was in those outlets and people loved it and bought it, there were others who would look at it on the shelf and worry they might be disappointed when they got it home because they’d never tried it.

“We wondered how to overcome that barrier and decided to open a pop-up shop in a shopping centre in Norwich and see how it worked.

“It was phenomenal. People came in, tried the gin and 50% of people who did walked out with a bottle.

“We thought we were on to something and so launched in a department store in Norwich just to check it worked in a different environment albeit locally.

“In August we opened at Westfield  and it was the same there. It was tough, there weren’t a lot of people shopping at that time, but we were still selling to half the people who came through the door.

“We have a store in Covent Garden where it’s 75% conversion because there are lots of tourists there who want something to experience as well as souvenirs.

“Here in Canary Wharf it’s starting to build momentum – you have people living locally as well as working here. People are trying it, liking it and bringing their friends back.”

Bullards Spirits founder Russell Evans
Bullards Spirits founder Russell Evans

a bit of history

Russell, who splits his time between London and the brand’s home in Norfolk, released his first gin in 2015.

He’s been joined in the business by his son, Joe, and both clearly delight in telling its story and visiting stores to talk to customers. 

“Bullards is a brand that’s been around since 1837,” said Russell. “It originally brewed beer. In the 1980s, I went to work for Grand Metropolitan, which is now Diageo, who sent me to Norwich Brewery and one of the brands they gave me to play around with was Bullards.

“I worked on it for a year or so, went off and did other things, worked in brand management for Budweiser, Fosters and other brands.

“Then I ran my own advertising agency, sold it, found out what happened to Bullards, did a bit of research and found out it was owned by Heineken but that they’d forgotten to re-register all the trademarks.

“So I registered them, approached Heineken and – long story short – acquired the brand in 2015.

“I began by making beer, which was good but the gin boom was starting and so we thought we’d try and make some of that.

“We discovered Bullards had actually made gin back in the 1920s as well, so there was some history there.

“We started distilling at the back of an old pub. Then, the London Dry that we produced with a tonka bean twist won World’s Best London Dry Gin in 2017, which catapulted us up a level.”

Botanicals on display at the Cabot Place shop
Botanicals on display at the Cabot Place shop

next level

“Having set that high bar it was a difficult shout to expand the range. We thought we’d do something really different,” said Russell.

“Having done a classic London Dry, we thought we’d go for a flavoured gin because that’s where the market was going.

“People suggested raspberry or rhubarb – but that’s what everybody else was doing and when we do something we like to put a twist on it.

“We decided to do strawberry and black pepper, influenced by eating those ingredients, possibly with balsamic vinegar, as a pudding.

“We launched it and it became our most popular product.”

Russell's son Joe also works for the brand
Russell’s son Joe also works for the brand

sweet stuff

“There was much debate about what to do next and there weren’t many Old Tom-style gins on the market,” said Russell.

“The thing with it is that not many people know what it is – it’s a sweet gin. Before we opened our shops it was our slowest seller but, now people can try it in-store, it’s our best seller.

“Most people wouldn’t think to buy a gin like that off the shelf but we’re educating people as to what it is.

“It’s sweet, but our twist was to make it with mango and honey rather than just dumping a load of sugar in it.

“It’s a drink you can have with tonic or in cocktails, but it’s also a lovely sipping spirit you can have with ice.

Bullards' branding honours the original firm's tipsy anchor
Bullards’ branding honours the original firm’s tipsy anchor

home county

“Then we had a good long think about what we were all about,” said Russell. “We had the London Dry, but it was made with tonka beans from South America. 

“We had the flavoured gin made with strawberries from Norfolk, but the pepper was from overseas and we had the Old Tom, which had honey from our home county in it, but we wanted a product that encapsulated us and our Norfolkness.

“So if you had one gin you could take to a desert island that would sum up what Bullards is all about, it would be the Coastal.

“The reason is because all the botanicals apart from the juniper have been foraged from the Norfolk coast.”

Bold statement: Bullards wants Wharfers to try its gins

a bottle for life

Bullards’ gins cost £40 in the brand’s coloured glass bottles, but are also available in refill pouches for £5 less.

These can be recycled in-store, with postal subscriptions also available via Royal Mail, cutting down on delivery emissions. 

The brand produces cocktail recipes with ingredient hampers available for mixed drink enthusiasts as well as miniatures, scented candles inspired by the four core flavours and a range of other merchandise.

Russell said: “We want to spread the word and we get a great reaction. People like that the owners are in the shops talking to people about what they like.

“It’s the ultimate market research to find out what our customers think.

“So if anyone on the Wharf wants to come and try our gins, there’s always someone here who will be happy to talk them through the range and give them a free taste.

“Personally, my favourite is the Old Tom, but people should make their own minds up.”

Read More: Why Greenwich Gin is a journey around the world

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Canary Wharf: Hamptons unveil new office space as vote of confidence in local market

Estate agent’s Canada Square branch allows teams to come together to serve clients face-to-face

Hamptons has opened a new branch in Canada Square
Hamptons has opened a new branch in Canada Square – image Matt Grayson

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You often read about online agencies, but that’s not what people like in this area,” said Adam Wolfryd, who was appointed senior head of sales at Hamptons’ Canary Wharf operation in May.

“People want to deal with you face-to-face when it comes to their biggest asset.”

The company recently opened the doors to its new office at 20 Canada Square following relocation from its previous home at 30 South Colonnade via a brief temporary home at nearby WeWork.

“We were essentially working as an online proposition and while we were able to do that, it was challenging,” said Adam.

“The feedback we were getting from clients was that they wanted to be able to walk in and talk to us not have to book an appointment or do the whole thing remotely.

“It proved that we’re in a business that requires a traditional model to operate effectively. Opening the new office shows how much confidence Hamptons has in the Canary Wharf market.”

The company, which has more than 90 branches across the UK, has made a statement with this opening, taking over an expansive space, formerly occupied by a bank.

Dressed in pale woods, potted greenery and crisp digital screens displaying properties in its windows, there are meeting rooms for consultations with clients and plenty of space to house a team covering every aspect of the property market.

Hamptons senior head of lettings Laura Stronghill
Hamptons senior head of lettings Laura Stronghill – image Matt Grayson

The Canary Wharf office’s senior head of lettings Laura Stronghill said: “The previous space we had didn’t really suit when we expanded the team – we felt we’d outgrown it and the building was set to be redeveloped in any case.

“Then this site came up and it was the right spot for us – it gives the business better exposure, we’re closer to the Tube and it means we can bring more people in and do more business.

“We’ve expanded the sales and lettings teams. We also have our residential development team, who handle new homes, and our property management team, who look after clients with multiple properties, based here, alongside some of our corporate team.

“It means we can get everybody under one roof and provide a better level of service for our clients. 

“That’s especially important in Canary Wharf as there’s a great deal of development going on locally and a lot of investors as well as professionals relocating to the area.

“With everyone here, people walking in can speak to members of our team with a wide range of expertise to help them with whatever they need.”

Adam and Laura said that with flexible digital infrastructure in place and the office now open, Hamptons stands ready to handle properties across a broad swathe of the market.

“It’s important that people know we will take care of everything from a studio apartment to a five-bedroom house,” said Laura. “We have the ability to be creative with our marketing to get the right result.

“I’ve been with the business for more than 15 years and its core is solid. The backbone of the company is its people, its structure and its ability to retain good members of staff so we can use our experience to do a great job for our clients.

“We’re all approachable, we want people to come and meet us and we like to do tiny, noticeable things to make our clients’ lives a little bit better.

“Whether that’s popping round to a property to turn the oven off, arranging to be there to make sure tenants get their keys out of hours or even helping them move in, it’s those little extras you can count on.

“On the lettings side, there are no straightforward tenancies – that’s where the team and I come in to assist landlords as much as we can. That’s where our corporate reach really helps – we have a lot of tenants employed by blue chip companies.

“Right now, demand is through the roof – in some instances rental prices are already exceeding 2019 levels.

“Tenants are looking to secure longer deals because they don’t know where the market’s going.

“We’re starting to see landlords getting a better return, which is great. We don’t want tenants or landlords to feel they’re getting the raw end of the stick.

“The happier the tenant, the better the property is kept and the longer they will stay. The past few years have been tough for small landlords so it’s been fantastic to give them some good news. 

“We will always look after their biggest asset for them and we get very good rental returns. It’s about working the market to the best of our ability, that personal touch and having the marketing tools available to do the best job possible for our clients.”

Hamptons senior head of sales Adam Wolfryd
Hamptons senior head of sales Adam Wolfryd – image Matt Grayson

Adam is similarly optimistic about the sales market and said Hamptons was ideally placed to help vendors get what they want.

“Experience is one of the first things sellers look for from an agent,” he said. 

“In the current market, finding a buyer takes a lot of hard work and having an experienced person deal with the offer and negotiation process as well as ensuring the buyer is a viable prospect is essential.

“I’ve been working in estate agency in this area for more than 20 years and I have a team here with more than half a century of experience.

“In a fast-paced, high turnover industry, Hamptons is a recognised, respected brand and sellers will find an established team at the Canary Wharf office that can really give clients the benefit of that experience.

“We won’t rush to force a seller to accept too low an offer if we think that in a couple of weeks we can achieve a higher price, for example.

“We won’t put a sale together, unless we’re confident that we’ve done the work we needed to do to ensure that the buyer is fit to proceed.

“As rental yields in this area have hit 5% again, buyer registrations are starting to rise as we’re seeing tenants looking to purchase a property and buy-to-let investors coming back to the market.

“That suggests prices will only go in one direction and I’m quite bullish about 2022.

“Over the next 12 months, especially with Crossrail set to open and the Wharf becoming even easier to travel in and out of, people will see what a great place to live it is.

“This new office is a central hub for us – we cover properties of all kinds all the way out to Essex from here. It’s always a good time to come and talk to us, if nothing else, just to understand the value of your property – we can advise on whether it’s better to keep it and rent it out or to put it on the market. It’s the benefit of offering that all-round service.

“Whatever your property requirements are, we cover everything.

“We’re connected right across the UK and can also help with financial services, new homes, removals, cleaning and refurbishment as well as sales and lettings.”

Read More: Canary Wharf opens 8 Harbord Square show home

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Canary Wharf: How Hawksmoor’s team work tirelessly to refine its offering

Wood Wharf opening along with The Lowback bar is first hospitality venue in estate’s emerging area

Hawksmoor group executive chef Matt Brown
Hawksmoor group executive chef Matt Brown – image Matt Grayson

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Not many restaurant group flagship venues are actually floating.

But Hawksmoor’s Wood Wharf establishment, permanently moored off Water Street, sits on a specially-built pontoon above the cold, dark fathoms of what’s left of the eastern end of West India Middle Dock. 

It’s the first in a clutch of new venues – something of a beachhead that will see Wharfers drawn in ever greater numbers over Montgomery Bridge.

And they’ll be in for a panoply of riches if Emilia’s Crafted Pasta, The London Project and MMy Wood Wharf turn out to be of similar quality.

Hawksmoor may have leapfrogged them all, becoming the first hospitality venue to open its doors in the emerging community, but the speed of its arrival hasn’t been to its detriment.

Its 160-seat restaurant on the top deck is all deep leather banquette seating, gold, glass and warm lighting. It’s filled with different, comforting textures offset by polished wood – all the glamour of an Art Deco ocean liner.

Head downstairs and 120-seat bar The Lowback continues the theme, its bottle display recalling the slick glamour of an illuminated 1940s jukebox.

It’s not just about the sleek interior, though. Like cutting into an exquisite steak and seeing the glowing red of perfectly cooked meat, the quality goes all the way through.

The restaurant at Hawksmoor's Wood Wharf establishment
The restaurant at Hawksmoor’s Wood Wharf establishment

Cookery

Matt Brown is group executive chef for Hawksmoor and boasts a CV that includes some of London’s best restaurants, including extensive periods working with Marco Pierre White.

He said: “I always wanted to cook. I’m from Chesterfield and I moved to London when I was 16, got an apprenticeship at The Ritz and did that for about four years.  After that I was reading about this guy – Marco – in the newspaper, so I went to work for him for about 20 years. Then I was head chef at Le Tante Claire for Pierre Koffmann for two years.

“But I’ve always wanted to challenge myself. Some of my cheffy friends saw taking the job at Hawksmoor in 2015 as a step down – cooking in a steakhouse – but not at all.

“What we try to do at Hawksmoor is no different from what one, two, or three Michelin-starred restaurants are trying to do. The amount of effort we put into sourcing ingredients and cooking them in the correct way is unbelievable.

“The lengths we go to to get the ultimate chip, for example, are incredible and we do that in all our restaurants – that’s a different ballgame to doing it in one kitchen.

Steaks served at Hawksmoor
Steaks served at Hawksmoor

“Firstly we take great care   selecting the potatoes – if you start with rubbish you’re never going to get a good chip – and then we have a three-day process. We blanch them first in boiling salt water, then chop them up and they go on trays to let the steam out.

“Then they go in the fridge overnight. You have to get as much water out as possible. Then we fry them at 140ºC on the second day and put them back in the fridge.  Then we serve them on the third day, frying them in beef dripping at 180ºC.

“While 80-90% of the menu is set in stone, we’re always trying to do things better, to create more interesting side dishes.

“We work with about 500 farms in the UK – all small producers – where you can select all grass-fed cuts. The menu is cool starters and steakhouse classics, but we want to be about more than just steak, we want to be a great restaurant as well.

“That means having a drinks list, a wine list and food that are all amazing. For me, it ticks all the boxes. You can come here and have what I think is the best steak and chips anywhere. My favourite is probably the rib-eye. It’s flavoursome and has just the right amount of unctuousness – tender, but not too tender.”

Matt’s connection to Canary Wharf dates back two decades to when he met local resident Lisa, who he subsequently married, but the local dining scene was pretty limited then.

“It’s not like it used to be – when I came here a few weeks ago, it was for the first time in 18 or 19 years,” he said. “Initially we were a bit dubious when we first thought about Hawksmoor on a boat – it’s not really what we do.

“But then I saw the restaurant and it’s amazing – what a great venue for anyone to come to.”

The Lowback Bar at Hawksmoor Wood Wharf
The Lowback Bar at Hawksmoor Wood Wharf

Bartending

That spirit of inclusion (pun intended) continues downstairs in The Lowback. Conceived as a venue in its own right, manager Joe Worthington is in command and wants Wharfers to see it as a favoured hangout whether they’re living or working locally.

“Hawksmoor is The Lowback’s big brother so you’re going to get that guaranteed quality, really great food. But the focus down here is on drinks.

“The atmosphere and the service will be just like any Hawksmoor but the lights will be lower and the music a little louder.

“We want it to be a hub for the Wharf. Whether you live or work here we want it to be your local, whether it’s for a cocktail or a pint of Guinness.

“We’ve got a great Martini list and one good thing is that a lot of prep for our drinks is done early – they’re designed so they can be put together in 30 seconds.

“That means we’ll be aiming to deliver drinks to the table in under five minutes for parties of two or three – a little longer if there are more guests.

“In spring the terraces will be open – there’s a further 30 seats on tables out there, bathed in sunlight.

“I imagine that, when people look out of their residential towers or their office blocks, they’re going to see that terrace outside and fancy having a Martini by the water.

“Inside we’ve got this beautiful 10-metre bar with a plethora of drinks on offer.

Manager of The Lowback Joe Worthington
Manager of The Lowback Joe Worthington – image Matt Grayson

“If you want a whisky on the rocks, a pint, a cocktail, we’re at your beck and call. The best place to sit will be at the bar where you can watch your drink being made. You’ll get your own designated bartender and they’ll be happy to talk you through the menu.

“What’s at the forefront of our minds is ensuring we deliver drinks and food with great service.

“We hope that when people come down here we’ll create regulars. The theatre of making drinks will still be there but we want to serve people quickly.

“Nobody comes to a place to stand at the bar for seven minutes. The prices we charge are the industry standard, but what sets Hawksmoor apart isn’t how cheap or expensive we are, it’s the people we employ – the atmosphere and the culture those staff create.

“Before I joined the team, I’d been coming to Hawksmoor for about 10 years and the thing I loved about it was that the bars felt independent while still being encased in the restaurant.

“The Lowback is a stand-alone brand and it’s somewhere that enables us to say yes to people whether that’s accommodating large bookings or two people who just want a quiet drink.”

Read more: Gallio opens Mediterranean restaurant at Canary Wharf

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Canary Wharf: Gallio to offer Mediterranean pizzas and salads at Cabot Place restaurant

Managing director James Porter outlines what the new brand will bring to the fast, casual dining scene

Gallio managing director James Porter
Gallio managing director James Porter – image Matt Grayson

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James Porter is smiling. Canary Wharf’s Cabot Place is about to become home to the first branch of a new restaurant chain and its managing director can’t wait for the doors to open on December 6.

“We’re very excited to bring our new concept here,” said James. “Gallio is where casual dining meets the modern world.

“Guests can order at the till or at their table digitally, which has become much more common now.

“The concept was thought out before Covid, but the pandemic has helped the world’s IT accelerate as it has become a necessity and that’s great for us because it helps our staff focus more on the hospitality side of things.

“Gallio is an independent brand, but we’re part of a wider group of luxury restaurants.

“When guests walk through the door, they should feel that connection to quality, that we’re slightly different from other casual fast dining establishments.

“Hopefully their first perception of the business will be: ‘Wow. I can’t believe I’m getting this product in this place at this price.

“People should feel they’re getting as much value from the restaurant environment as from the food itself – we don’t want anyone to feel they’re less comfortable because we’re serving food to them quickly or that they have to leave immediately.”

Gallio offers salads and pizzas with flavours drawn from all around the Med
Gallio offers salads and pizzas with flavours drawn from all around the Med

Having started working in a restaurant to pay the bills while studying business and marketing at university, James stayed in the industry after graduation.

Having spent most of his career in management for high street casual dining chains, Gallio represents an opportunity to start at the beginning.

“I’ve been in charge of a brand before but in slightly different circumstances,” he said. “That was to do with the acquisition of a brand and maintaining and sustaining it in a different way.

“I’ve brought a lot of that experience here as well as those with the bigger brands I’ve worked for over 14 years including one company that went from a handful of sites to more than 50.

“For me this is going back to the future – back to the process in a different role and taking all that learning with me.”

Gallio has been three years in development and promises to bring something new to the Canary Wharf table.

“It’s a Mediterranean restaurant and that’s a broad term,” said James. “When people think of the Mediterranean, they tend to think of Spain, Italy and Greece, but there are 21 countries which border that sea and our menu represents all of them.

“Pizzas are at the heart of our concept, but even those are different because we bring in influences from other countries, such as Greece, Turkey and Lebanon as well as North Africa.

“Obviously, when you have to have a Margherita, but the other pizzas will have toppings like spiced lamb, grilled aubergine and various other middle eastern ingredients, which you wouldn’t find in an Italian restaurant.

“We’re trying to bring those diverse flavours into our pizzas. Our bases aren’t traditional either.

“We’ve come up with our own unique recipe using grains – it’s more nutritious and high in fibre and protein – so customers can feel a little less guilty when ordering.”

The restaurant will feature a bronze pizza oven
The restaurant will feature a bronze pizza oven

With a tagline of “pizzas and salads” the latter is another major component of Gallio’s menu.

“Like a lot of restaurants, there needs to be something that hauls people in,” said James.

“The majority of people like pizza, they know what it is, and we’ve got a bronze oven, which is a real show-stopper. We’ll also be baking our middle eastern flatbreads in there.

“The other part of our concept is salads, made fresh everyday, and built as you’re ordering, so, whether you’re Vegan, vegetarian or a carnivore, you can select how you want the dish to arrive.

“They’re all made in front of our guests too, so people can see the actual product instead of it coming from a kitchen in the back.

“That means they’ll see how good the salad is, how fresh ingredients are and they can have it their own way.

“Our menu is seasonal so when developing the concept it’s all been about playing with different ingredients and supplies – working out what ingredients we can get and when.

“Then it’s practise and repeat, asking whether we can make the pizzas healthier and more nutritious and work with the vegetables we’re getting.

“As the pandemic approached we were getting ready to launch the brand and open our first restaurant, but we ended up temporarily operating out of central London units and delivering food to people.

“We were refining our menu in the public domain, taking feedback and understanding what guests wanted as well as what they expect in terms of delivery and how our products stood up to travel.

“Most brands wouldn’t have had that amount of time to trial what they want to do but we’ve used this time to really get to know how best to make the products we’re selling.

“Now that we’re going into our first bricks and mortar site, we’ve been able to take that feedback and add to it, expanding what we were doing by offering more dishes than we were selling during the trial period.”

Following the unexpected period of extra development,  there’s a certain amount of pent up excitement to finally be opening in east London.

James said: “Canary Wharf will be a flagship venue for us – to be able to say that we’re here is fantastic.

“It’s a place that everyone knows so it’s an important area for us as a business to have a footprint in, and it’s always been the area that the economy revolves around so opening up here will be good.

“We plan on growing, certainly throughout London and the UK and we also have plans to develop internationally. 

“But the first thing to do is to ensure Canary Wharf is a success and that’s not just from a business point of view.

“If our guests don’t like it then in the end we won’t go anywhere so our focus is that everybody here enjoys themselves. We want any feedback about the brand so we can take it on board and that will show us where we want to go in future.”

Hungry Wharfers (let’s face it, that’s basically all of us at some point) should get their diaries out now and ensure they don’t miss out. Gallio is set to officially open at 11am on December 6.

Customers can expect 100 free pizzas given out via the brand’s social media feeds from 11am on December 8 and 9. Find out more on Facebook and Instagram. 

In the New Year, there will also be a Hot Dinner Offer, with 50% off pizzas for diners visiting the restaurant from January 10-16.

Opening hours from launch until January 3 will initially be 11am-10.30pm.

Personally, I can’t wait to immerse myself in the flavours of Moroccan-spiced chicken, lamb kofte and rose harissa.

Read more: Black Rock reinvents the whisky bar at Republic

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Canary Wharf: How LycaHealth’s one-stop breast centres offer fast diagnosis and care

Consultant-led facilities at Westferry Circus and Orpington feature cutting edge imaging technology

LycaHealth in Canary Wharf offers the latest diagnostic tools
LycaHealth in Canary Wharf offers the latest diagnostic tools

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LycaHealth has opened one of two new breast centres at its Westferry Circus clinic.

Staffed by a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, radiologists, radiographers and breast nurse specialists, the facility has been developed with the aim of offering patients a single place, covering everything from screenings to pathways into treatment and, if necessary, surgery.

Opened in 2015 by then Mayor Of London Boris Johnson, the clinic and its sister facility in Orpington offer an extensive range of services.

“We know more than 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year,” said LycaHealth chairperson Prema Subaskaran.

“Early detection and treatment of the disease is literally lifesaving and screening is a very important part of that.

“That was the key thing that led me to initiate the creation of this service at Canary Wharf and Orpington.

“It’s always been our aim with our state-of-the art diagnostic centres to provide the highest quality healthcare to our local communities and we’d already made a significant investment in our facilities, covering a wide range of treatments.  

“So it was natural that we should open one-stop breast centres to offer screening appointments and diagnosis, routine consultations, mammography, breast ultrasound and biopsies.

“We’re also able to offer an established care pathway into some of London’s surgical and cancer centres should the need arise.”

LycaHealth chairperson Prema Subaskaran
LycaHealth chairperson Prema Subaskaran

With a complement of nine surgeons on its team, offering an extensive range of expertise, LycaHealth’s centres are well placed to offer excellent treatment.

But Prema was keen to stress cutting-edge diagnostic equipment also played a vital role in ensuring either peace of mind or rapid diagnosis for patients.

“At LycaHealth we offer a customer-centric approach to healthcare that brings top consultants specialising in a comprehensive range of medical conditions together with a screening clinic,” she said.

“We offer access to top of the range MRI, low radiation CT scanners, digital X-Rays, ultrasound scanners and blood investigation as well as other medical disciplines such as audiology, opthamology and so on.

“We have an excellent team of people and that extends to our breast centres, which are led by some of the country’s leading surgeons and clinicians who are established at some of London’s leading cancer centres.”

The company operates breast centres in Canary Wharf and Orpington
The company operates breast centres in Canary Wharf and Orpington

One of the key components of LycaHealth’s offering is speed – both in terms of diagnosis and then, should the need arise, treatment.

The breast centres’ structure means patients aren’t left to wait for long periods in uncertainty.

“Since we opened the centre at Canary Wharf we’ve seen demand for its services is high,” said Prema.

“The waiting time for the patient is reduced because the results from the centre can be processed very quickly.

“Patients can get them in as little as 24 hours. We also offer very rapid access to treatment.

“People can also refer themselves for screening with certain conditions.

“Patients have to make an appointment to see a doctor prior to the screening, for example.”

The company also prides itself on the quality of the technology it offers and the imagery it is capable of producing.

Prema said: “Our GE machines at both sites incorporate 3D tomosynthesis capability, which is an advanced form of mammography that produces three dimensional images using X-Rays.

“This system offers more than what is typically on offer at the moment. It’s some of the most accurate screening available that we’re using.

“You get to see three dimensional images that have been produced using only a low dose of radiation. 

“The increased quality gives a better potential for diagnosis at an earlier stage, which is vital. We made a conscious decision to invest in the best technology available.

“The opening of these centres is an important milestone for LycaHealth as we continue to invest in the clinics we have set up.

“We have plans to open further medical and breast screening centres across the UK over the next five years.

“We are also always looking at opportunities and patients’ needs in terms of further developing the Canary Wharf site.

“We are currently exploring the possibility of introducing a facility to handle minor surgical procedures on the Wharf, although that will mean increasing the size of the clinic.

“Anyone looking to use our services should know that we’re accredited by all of the major medical insurers.

“It’s very simple to get in touch with us to book either by phone, email or through our website.”

The Canary Wharf facility is open five days a week from 9am and currently has minimal waiting times for appointments.

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