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Canary Wharf: How Broadwick Studio delivers total flexibility at Wood Wharf

Company’s street level events venue and meeting suite has launched at east London’s Water Street

Broadwick Studio is located at the junction of Water Street and Charter Street on Wood Wharf

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The ability to see what isn’t yet there, is arguably Broadwick’s talent as a company.

Having built a portfolio of festivals, the business took a change of direction in 2019, opting to focus on physical event spaces.

Its current portfolio boasts a plethora of venues, many of which are spread across Docklands and east London.

These include the purpose-built temporary structure Magazine on Greenwich Peninsula, former warehouse Dock X in Canada Water and The Beams and Silverworks Island at Royal Docks – one a former industrial sugar store and the other a vast outdoor show ground with Millennium Mills as a backdrop.

While all are essentially blank canvas spaces, they also have something else about them. Magazine looks out over the Thames with Canary Wharf in the background, Dock X sits at the heart of a massive regeneration scheme, The Beams is beside one of Tate & Lyle’s sugar factories and Silverworks boasts an astounding view of Docklands structures past and present. 

While clients are free to brand and mould the spaces exactly how they want, the venues are also of and in their surroundings, granting them potent identities all of their own. 

A visitor might watch a drone show outside at Magazine, but they’ll remember the little craft soaring above the Canary Wharf skyline in the shadow of The O2.

The venue has been designed as a blank canvas

Typically, the vibe is modern, minimal and industrial. Nowhere was this more true than at Broadwick’s flagship venue Printworks London – with events taking place in the stripped-back press halls at Canada Water’s Harmsworth Quays.

Here, from 1989, Associated Newspapers’ publications rattled off enormous machines, 24-hours a day.

Originally intended only for temporary events use, it proved so successful as a venue, that developer British Land is currently in the process of making it a permanent part of its regeneration of the area

Which brings us to Broadwick Studio, the company’s latest space.

With Printworks out of action as works are carried out, the company needed a new home and relocated to offices at 30 Water Street on Wood Wharf.

“When development started we began looking for a new space – we already had a great relationship with Canary Wharf as we were operating the East Wintergarden,” said Elisa Chiodi, Broadwick’s managing director for spaces, innovation and growth.

“We thought having our company here would be a great position to be in.

“We are an entertainment, space and culture organisation and it felt like a great addition to the mix of companies which are based here.

“We love it – it’s easy to get here.

“The team enjoys the fact the Wharf is full of restaurants and shops.

Broadwick’s Elisa Chiodi

“It’s also that 30 Water Street is a very beautiful space – it’s very much us as a company.

“We always look for places that are Broadwick – we always try and find spaces we can turn into a good representation of who we are.

“We’re very minimalist and pared-back.

“We believe in energy and agility, so all of our spaces can be turned into almost anything at any moment.

“Being simple and flexible in everything we do is really important.

“We’re very open – nobody at Broadwick has an office, not even our CEO – and that works for us. 

“We’re also very bold – when we make something, people know it’s us.”

Given that ethos, Wharfers won’t be too surprised to discover that the company has decided to launch a ground floor facility below its offices.

Broadwick Studio includes three meeting rooms and a main event space, with full height glass walls, which can more or less be used for anything.

“We want there to be a reason why people come to the places where we are,” said Elisa.

“We thought: ‘What better than a new venue at Wood Wharf?’.

“We’ve also found that Canary Wharf Group0 is really keen to work with us to have some community activities happening here – that new talent can use the space, perhaps artists, designers or musicians.

Broadwick Studio has plug and play facilities including lighting and a full kitchen

“We really have an open view on what will happen at Broadwick Studio.

“It could be a meeting space, host workshops, product launches, parties – anything.

“We want to work with all kinds of companies in all sorts of industries, as well as community groups which might be interested in using the space as well as businesses hosting events or Christmas parties.”

Located on the corner of Water Street and Charter Street opposite Tribe Hotel, Broadwick Studio can accommodate up to 120 people for a standing reception.

It includes a fully-kitted out kitchen, bathroom facilities and two points of access to help manage the flow of guests.

While minimal in design, looks can be deceptive as the venue comes with some lighting, AV equipment and screens.

“The idea is to make it as plug-and-play as possible,” said Tara Quish, sales and events manager at Broadwick, who previously worked in events for restaurant brand D&D.

“We are completely flexible. If someone wants to do something, then we want them to get in touch.

“If it’s something we haven’t done before, we’d love to find a way to make it happen. 

Broadwick Studio’s suite of spaces includes three meeting rooms at ground level

“To make things simple, on-site furniture, event lighting and house production equipment is included with hire.

“That’s why we’ve decided to include a kitchen, to maximise what people can do in the space. 

“You can even paint the walls if you like, so long as you paint them back.”

With an extensive track record of managing events across its portfolio, Broadwick is also well-placed to offer companies assistance in sourcing firms to cater and produce their events in the space if needed.

Vibration Production, for example, can be called on to provide a wide range of technical services.

But Broadwick is also keen to help the space become part of the fabric of its surroundings.

“The buildings at Wood Wharf have a very different feel to other parts of the estate,” said Elisa. 

“It’s much more urban – and that’s one of the reasons we like being here – we are a very industrial kind of brand and this fits perfectly with what we do. 

“We have been here for less than a year but it feels like home to us and that’s why we wanted to do something. 

“One of the things that we want is for people to see what we do.

“We have a lot of clients who already want to use the space for branding opportunities – not just private events and it’s really well positioned for that. 

Broadwick Studio’s event space can be used for parties, presentations, launches, workshops and meetings

“But we also want to talk to people who live locally and to local artists about what we might do when there isn’t an event running – how we might give their work some exposure.

“Is there some way we can use Broadwick Studio to showcase what they do?”

 In addition to Broadwick Studio, the firm is also gearing up to relaunch the East Wintergarden in Bank Street.

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli – who was also responsible for One Canada Square – the building boasts a vaulted glass ceiling and sits overlooking West India South Dock.

Broadwick is set to officially reopen the venue in April as The Pelligon – a flexible space taking up to 1,000 people – this could be used for awards ceremonies, conferences, launches, filming, parties or weddings.

“It’s going to be something very different to how it’s been in the past,” said Elisa.

For now, it’s a case of watch this space, but Broadwick Studio is very much up and running already.

Those interested in booking an event at the space or collaborating with Broadwick should contact the firm for more details by calling 020 3725 6061.

Find out more about Broadwick here

The space can be curtained off from the street for more private gatherings

Read more: How Canary Wharf Group has launched Wharf Connect, a network for early career professionals

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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 Third Space Wood Wharf expands the brand’s offering

Club will add Reformer Pilates, hot Yoga and gym capacity for Canary Wharf members to explore

An artist’s impression of the pool at Third Space Wood Wharf

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Third Space Canary Wharf is vast.

Its facilities, spread over three floors above Waitrose in Canada Square, include an expansive Crossfit-themed training area, a combat zone with a full-size boxing ring, a climbing wall, a swimming pool, fitness studios, a dedicated mind and body space and that’s before you even get to the weights and cardio machines. 

Billed as Europe’s largest luxury health club, it boasts an unrivalled selection of classes featuring everything from treadmills and Olympic weightlifting to bodyweight HIIT, kettlebells and callisthenics. 

Pick pretty much any exercise trend and, if it promises serious benefits, the Third Space’s Canary Wharf facility will pretty much have it covered.

Like Barry’s? then Third Space has Sweat X. Prefer spinning? Choose Hardcore Cycle or Just Ride. Enjoy Crossfit? There’s Yard WOD and so on. 

It’s not unusual to have more than 45 classes timetabled on a given weekday for members to choose from – all included in the monthly fee.

Soon, however, that won’t be all they’re getting.

The Wood Wharf branch is set to open later this year

Third Space is set to open a new branch on the estate, with access for Canary Wharf members at no extra cost.

Located at 15 Water Street above Dishoom and Tribe Canary Wharf, Third Space Wood Wharf will be spread over two floors. 

The club is essentially an extension on a second site to the facilities already on offer in Canada Square. It will have its own fully-stocked gym floor and swimming pool, but also a series of new classes..

“We have a great offering already, but the idea is that if a member can think of a type of class they’d like to do, then it should be available across the two sites,” said Gillian Reeves, head of group exercise at Third Space.

“There are a couple of things Canary Wharf doesn’t offer that Wood Wharf will, completing our full suite of facilities.

“We’ll have dedicated studios for hot Yoga and Reformer Pilates. 

“They will be great spaces and we can’t wait to welcome our members into them.” 

The Wood Wharf branch is expected to open in early summer, with preparations well underway. 

The Wood Wharf branch will include a hot Yoga studio

“It’s massive for Canary Wharf,” said Alex Barsby, the new facility’s dedicated general manager.

“With both sites taken into consideration, it’s such a fantastic offering.

“The idea is to deliver extra facilities to what we already have at the existing site without duplicating too much of what’s already there.

“There will be more capacity – there’s a fully equipped gym with Eleiko free weights, a sled track, professional lifting racks, Pulse pin-loading machines with digital screens and cardio machines.

“Upstairs, there will be beautiful changing rooms where members can relax, unwind and get ready before venturing out into the city.

“There’s a 20m pool with a hydro pool and unisex sauna and steam room facilities, which is something new for the club on the estate and will be ideal for couples. 

“There will also be poolside loungers and an experience shower that people can use after coming out of the sauna or steam room.

“Being above ground, there’s lots of natural light with windows all round the club, which is really fantastic and gives it a lovely feel.”

While the extra capacity will be of obvious benefit – especially to Tribe hotel guests, who can use the facilities – the chief attractions are perhaps the two new studios and the possibilities they bring. 

A Reformer Pilates studio will host a range of classes

While Third Space Canary Wharf offers a programme of mat based Pilates classes and Yin, Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga at ambient temperatures, Wood Wharf will expand significantly on these.

“We’ll continue with all those classes,” said Gillian.

“But these new spaces allow us to offer more.

“The hot Yoga studio will be heated to between 32ºC and 35ºC – a really lovely temperature. 

“We know from our other clubs that some people really want to escape to a warm place where they can feel that they’re sweating a bit. 

“It can feel a bit more challenging because you have the heat to contend with and that puts your body under greater stress.

“The fact it’s hot and that you have to move and breathe, means you need to work with your mind – to use all the tools that your practice has taught you to focus on the positions. 

“To keep things straightforward we’ll be programming the same forms as in the ambient studios but there are variations because we don’t dictate to our teachers the approach they should take. 

“Everyone who teaches at Third Space has years of experience and the classes differ based on the way that they have been trained in Yoga.”

Perhaps the most significant addition to Third Space’s offering, however, is its decision to include a Reformer Pilates studio at Wood Wharf.

Third Space Wood Wharf will be included with membership at Canary Wharf

“This equipment is commonly used in smaller groups or one-on-one, but we’ve found there’s growing demand for bigger classes with lots of Reformers,” said Gillian. 

“The challenge was to keep the authenticity of Pilates when creating these larger classes.

“To do that, we needed an expert and we found that in James Shaw who has been teaching for more than 10 years.

“He has a wealth of knowledge and experience and he’s really passionate about Pilates – he’s devoted his life to it. 

“He’s developed our signature classes and we’ll be running Fundamental Reformer Pilates, Traditional Reformer Pilates and Dynamic Reformer sessions. 

“We’ve dropped the word ‘Pilates’ from the last one, because it’s really movement exercises on the equipment and looks quite different from the traditional system, but members love it.

“We’ll also be offering Tower Pilates classes, where participants will work with the structure at the end of the equipment.

“It’s a really nice addition, as it’s a different way of working with the resistance springs.” 

Alex added: “Third Space is an investment in yourself – the return you get can be life-changing.

“We really pride ourselves on the fact everything we do is member-assessed. 

“We love this feedback and use it to constantly improve what we do and to provide what our members want.” 

Membership at Third Space Canary Wharf, which will include the new Wood Wharf club currently costs £212 per month.   

Find out more about Third Space 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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Canary Wharf: How WyzePay offers discounts at MMy Wood Wharf

How the Level39-based fintech startup gets customers who use it to pay, 10%-15% off

WyzePay has teamed up with traders at MMy Wood Wharf to offer customers discounts

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Collaboration is incresingly the lifeblood of the economy – especially when there’s something in it for consumers.

Everyone loves a deal, right? And this is why Canary Wharf-based fintech startup WyzePay’s latest venture should be celebrated. 

The prepayment loyalty app has welcomed 10 traders at MMy Wood Wharf in George Street to its roster of participating local businesses (the Temple Of Art And Music basement jazz club at the venue is coming soon, too). 

That means anyone signed up for WyzePay can get 10%-15% off anything sold by them simply by paying through the platform.

It works like this. Users download the app.

They purchase credit with one of the traders using a credit or debit card with their money going straight to that business. 

As a thank-you for paying up front, the trader gives the user a discount depending on how much credit they buy. 

The more you purchase, the greater the discount.

For example, the user might pay £9 but get £10 of credit if the offer is 10%. 

That balance is then stored in a closed digital wallet and the user pays the trader by scanning a QR code on the trader’s phone through the WyzePay app on their device.

Buying credit and paying take seconds, meaning a balance can easily be topped up to cover a purchase. 

WyzePay head of business development Anya Markitanova

In essence, the system is similar to loyalty schemes, where customers get something for free as a reward for repeat business. 

“It’s basically a smarter way to spend,” said Anya Markitanova, head of business development at WyzePay, which is based at Canary Wharf’s Level39 tech community.

“You use it to get rewards for your money and for your loyalty.

“We all have cards from coffee shops in our wallets with one or two stamps from goodness knows where.

“We forget about them or lose them.

“Sometimes we get all nine stamps and a coffee for free or some other perk.

“What we’re doing is reversing the whole way that businesses interact with customers by allowing companies to reward spending up front.

“There’s no waiting to get a full set of stamps.”

This means there’s always a reward for the customer, however much they spend with a business through WyzePay, with a minimum of 10%.

While the company is already working with the likes of The Grandstand Bar, Obica, Boisdale, 640East, Seoul Bird and Brick Lane Bagel in Canary Wharf, MMy Wood Wharf is something new for the team.

“It’s one of the less well-known locations in the busy ecosystem of the estate – a lot of people do not know that this wonderful, cosy place is there and we’re on a mission to change that,” said Anya.

“It’s our first merchant group on WyzePay because it’s different to the other venues. 

“It’s a marketplace with different traders in the same space so, by definition it attracts various kinds of customer.

WyzePay users can save 10%-15% with 10 traders at MMy Wood Wharf

“That gives us access to a wider audience who might not even know what they want for breakfast, lunch or dinner – whether it’s gelato, pizza or Lebanese cuisine – but they can use WyzePay with any of the traders.”

There is a lot to choose from at MMy.

There’s Fresco La Pizza Napoletana serving, well, pizza, Dez Amore’s freshly made pasta, Bindas Eatery’s richly spiced Indian dishes, Dim Sum Lab’s Chinese dumplings, Maki And Bowl’s Hawaiian-Japanese cuisine and gelato, pastries and coffee from Badiani.

There’s also Levantine food from The Lebanese Table, craft beer from The Italian Job, cocktails from Ethika and fresh food, ingredients and supplies from MM Grocery.

A deal with the venue’s basement jazz club – The Vineyard – run by the Temple Of Art And Music, is also in the pipeline.

Anya said: “Personally, I’m a huge fan of the coffee from Badiani, the diet-friendly poke from Maki And Bowl and the Espresso Martinis from Ethika. 

“Our platform works very well for people who plan what they’re going to spend, but equally for last-minute decision makers.

“It takes a few seconds to buy credit through the app, so you can do it on the spot.

“Loyalty cards would tend to get lost or forgotten, but we all carry our phones with us everywhere so your WyzePay digital wallet is with you all the time.

“All you need is a charger and a connection to the internet.”

The key to WyzePay is that it doesn’t just work for the consumer.

Obviously Cafe Nero hasn’t just been giving away its 10th coffee for free out of the goodness of the late, crazed emperor’s heart.

“We create value for traders and retailers too,” said Anya.

“As a business, it’s always helpful to have cash today rather than tomorrow and the money goes straight to the trader when a user buys credit.

“Then their customers feel good when they spend that credit and that helps the business create a long-term relationship with consumers.

“There can be a misconception, because we operate a closed digital wallet, that WyzePay is a kind of cryptocurrency.

“That’s not the case. We trade online in Pounds Sterling, the official currency of the UK and we don’t hold any money.

MMy Wood Wharf’s sustainable food market is located in Canary Wharf’s George Street

“The digital wallet is just a representation of the balance a customer holds with a particular trader.

“When you buy credit it goes up and, when you spend through the app with the trader, it goes down. 

“The discount with all the traders who have signed up at MMy Wood Wharf is currently 10%-15%, but we actually allow all the businesses to control the level of discount and minimum spend.

“Different discounts can serve different purposes, so the traders can quickly adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

“They might, for example, offer a limited discount at a particular time if they have a seasonal offering.

“People tend to buy less gelato in the colder months, for instance, so it would be possible for Badiani to remind customers they are still there with a bigger discount.

“It’s always more tasty when you get more gelato for your money.”

With WyzePay now live at MMy, it’s hard to see why anyone would pay with a card instead. 

You can download the WyzePay app here

WHAT TO BUY FROM MMy WOOD WHARF’S TRADERS

RAJASTHANI LAMB CURRY

Bindas Eatery

This powerfully spiced dish comes with plentiful rice and will leave your mouth tingling and your soul burning for just one more rich forkful

  • Full price: £15 
  • WyzePay: From £12.75

BAKED HALLOUMI FONDUE

The Lebanese Table

One for the cheese lovers, this hot pot is a truly enormous quantity of silken, melted delight, served with plentiful flatbread and garnished with black cumin seeds. The headline halloumi retains its structure, sat in a stretch bath of cheese just waiting to be mopped up 

  • Full price: £11.90
  • WyzePay: From £10.12

PIZZA DIAVOLA

Fresco La Pizza Napoletana

Classic Naples-style pizza served with great rapidity and a wealth of fresh ingredients strewn across its surface. While spicy on the tongue, this expression of a fiery stalwart also features an endearing sweetness in the mouth

  • Full price: £14.40
  • WyzePay: From £12.24

REWIND, SIGNATURE BREW

The Italian Job

While this friendly, gluten free IPA isn’t enough to blow the bloody doors off at a comforting 4.7%, its complex blend of pine and citrus notes should satisfy – especially at up to £1 off per pint, when paying with the app

  • Full price: £6.90
  • WyzePay: From £5.87

MEDIUM CUP (TWO FLAVOURS)

Badiani Gelato

Already a Wharf favourite since its arrival on the estate opposite Waitrose, the gelato is thick and creamy and the sorbet smooth and sharp. The combination of pistachio and lemon in my cup is a winner, but then what do you expect from a brand that takes its heritage from a store in Florence that started serving top quality ices in 1932?

  • Full price: £4.80
  • WyzePay: From £4.08

TAGLIATELLE TOMATO AND BURRATA

Dez Amore

This is luxury in a bowl. It seems pasta and sauce simply wasn’t enough for the chefs at Dez Amore, who decided to dump a fat lump of burrata in the centre of this dish. If you’re already on track to ordering, adding bacon (£1.40) and Parmigiano (70p), is a natural progression and well worth it

  • Full price: £14.70
  • WyzePay: From £12.50

GNOCCHI

MM Grocery

This store is packed with all manner of fresh and dry ingredients, also offering sustainable shampoo and wine from the barrel. The fresh gnocchi is as soft as a cloud on the tongue, ideal paired with fresh pesto

  • Full price: £3.20
  • WyzePay: From £2.72

BUILD YOUR BOWL

Maki And Bowl

The poke revolution has swept through London and it’s easy to see why. The combination of raw fish and fresh ingredients is pretty hard to resist, especially when it looks like this

  • Full price: £12.50
  • Wyze: From £10.63

PRAWN DUMPLINGS

Dim Sum Lab

Dumplings are, when done well, one of those comfort foods that are far too tempting. These soft, juicy parcels fall into that category – the kind of plate that disappears all too quickly, necessitating a top-up on Wyze and a fresh visit to the counter

  • Full price: £9
  • Wyze: From £7.65

MARGARITA

Ethika

For those in the know, Ethika has long been a go-to for quality cocktails on the estate. Snuggled in a corner of MMy Wood Wharf, this excellent bar mixes a sparkling menu with the enthusiasm and charm of its staff. Its salt-rim Margarita is an ethereal, light-touch take on a classic that slips down all too easily. Expect delicate shards of lime slicing neatly through the alcohol

  • Full price: £12.50
  • Wyze: From £10.63

Find out more about MMy Wood Wharf 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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Canary Wharf: How the Mandala Lab aims to transform emotions into wisdom

Installation by The Rubin Museum at Union Square on Wood Wharf is based on Buddhist philosophy

Tim McHenry of The Rubin Museum Of Art in New York

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Tim McHenry’s job is essentially to get people interested in things.

A lithe and slender man with a strong shirt game, the chief programmatic officer of The Rubin Museum Of Art in New York is an erudite guide as he takes me round the institution’s Mandala Lab in Canary Wharf.

The cylindrical installation popped up in Wood Wharf’s Union Square in September, is free to visit and opens daily from noon until 6pm (8pm on Thursdays).

It’s set to remain in place until November 25, 2023 – but what on Earth is it?

“As the name might indicate, it’s an experiment,” said Tim.

“All we do at The Rubin is inspired by the significant body of Himalayan art we have in our collection – it’s an exploration of mind and a negation of life and death, the deep stuff.

“In order to welcome people into that, we thought we might want to bring them into the shallower end of the pool until they learn to swim.

“It needs to be accessible, not only because the wheelchair ramps work, but also because if you look at a painting in the collection, you might not understand it.

“Walk inside this version of a painting that we’ve created here in Canary Wharf, however, and its meaning becomes clear because it’s a visceral journey, and it will help you see what it is about you that you have the capacity to change.

The Mandala Lab is located in Union Square, Canary Wharf

“The experience is based on a Tibetan Buddhist painting in The Rubin’s collection – a mandala, which in Sanskrit means circle.

“It has no beginning and no end, it’s all encompassing. This is a microcosm of your mind.

“Your embarkation point is on the outer rim and you’ve got to find your way to become the middle.

“At the centre is all-encompassing wisdom, but this only comes about by fully understanding what ignorance is.

“The Lab has four segments, each of which has a portal, the green room for envy, blue for anger, yellow for pride and red for attachment.

“You can enter through any of them.

“We’ve represented the mandala in the painting physically so people can step inside – it’s a metaphorical embodiment of the principles in the painting.

“All we’re doing is asking that people step inside – like Mary Poppins and Bert jumping into chalk on the pavement.”

For Envy, visitors synchronise their breathing with a pulsating light

The experience comes in four parts.

  • Envy sees visitors synchronise their breathing with a light, together with others in the same space.
  • Pride is a chance to look at oneself in a distorted mirror before deciding which of four categories one fits into.
  • Attachment is an opportunity to explore scent and memory.
  • Anger is a chance to hit a gong before lowering it into a tank of water and seeing the furious vibrations quickly dissipate in the calming liquid.

Incidentally, the gongs have been designed by various prominent individuals including celebrated percussionist Evelyn Glennie and Peter Gabriel, formerly of Genesis.

Tim and The Rubin are more than happy to call in celebrities to further the museum’s reach and expose more people to the ideas in its collection.

“Since joining The Rubin when it opened just over 20 years ago, it’s been my job to make Himalayan art accessible and popular, using many techniques including high profile people, contemporary artists and culture,” said Tim who ran events for the New Yorker magazine prior to his role at the museum.

“What was really transformative was recognising that Buddhist art is largely about an exploration of the mind and with that came the interesting idea of looking at this philosophy in comparison to what we understand about how our brains work – the latest neuroscience. 

For Attachement, visitors explore smell and memory

“We ran a series called Brainwave where we would have a scientist on stage with someone from a different walk of life and we’d try to unpack our behaviour and the choices we make by virtue of the context. 

“We had Jake Gyllenhall on dreams, for example, and Whoopi Goldberg on time, which brought The Rubin attention – particularly secular – that it might not otherwise have had given that the art is largely Tibetan Buddhist and to some degree ritualistic in that it’s an exercise of the mind.”

That’s exactly the point of the Mandala Lab and you don’t need to be famous to experience it – although, incidentally, actor Brian Cox (Logan Roy in the excellent Succession) did pop up at the launch party to bash a gong in anger.

It’s intended as a journey of self discovery – a series of activities designed to provoke thoughts about the self, our place in the world and our relationship to others. 

“Envy, for example, is devoted to this exploration of this rather sharp-elbowed, competitive thing that sometimes inhabits our minds and hearts,” said Tim.

Percussionist Evelyn Glennie performs at the Mandala Lab launch

“Why did someone else get a pay rise and I didn’t? Whatever it is, it’s something that we feel we lack in ourselves – it’s always self-centric.

“Here the exercise is super simple – if the first thing you did in your life was take a breath, then it will probably be the last, and that’s all we’re asking people to do.

“They breathe in time with a light source. 

“One of the most interesting advances in psychology and neuroscience is the idea of entrainment, where individuals sit in the same space and do something at the same pace. 

“Their heartbeats start to align and that starts to develop that subliminal bond and, over time and repeated exposure, will start to foster pro-social behaviour, because we think of ourselves as one.

“When that happens, there’s nobody left to be envious of. It’s a metaphor, but it’s an experience metaphor, and this is what Mandala Lab is all about.”

Over the course of the four segments, visitors are gently exposed to the idea that we are all connected, that we are all the same and that we are also all different and individual – that these things are all true at the same time. 

Actor Brian Cox watches his anger dissipate at the Mandala Lab

“It’s about establishing these teachings which are all about how we navigate our emotions – how we can harness the energy that we expend on maintaining them into a greater understanding of how we can deal with life,” said Tim.

“The aim is that we’re not buffeted by these reactive feelings of anger, attachment, envy and pride, which we find hard to control. Indeed, when we can’t control them, we tend to lash out and damage others and ourselves, which can lead to grief. 

“Those behaviours can become habitual patterns that are ultimately harmful.

“What we’ve experienced in New York with the Lab is a move to a more selfless nature – from the individual to the community – that’s something we could certainly do with a little more of.

“I hope this installation is a spur to understanding for people on the Wharf – it’s free to everyone so come on down.”

Find out more about the Mandala Lab 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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Canary Wharf: How NYC is coming to Wood Wharf as 8 Harbord Square homes launch

New York takeover will see estate carpeted with americana, offers and pop-ups to mark occasion

The launch of 8 Harbord Square will see a four-day New York City takeover of Wood Wharf arrive in Canary Wharf

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New York City looms large in the imagination. It’s the smooth vocals of Alicia Keys on Empire State Of Mind, yellow taxis and the splash of water over Carrie Bradshaw.

It’s impossibly tall skyscrapers, hip-hop, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin playing over-excited sailors in On The Town.

It’s Central Park, Central Perk and the Ghostbusters piloting the Statue Of Liberty through Fifth Avenue. 

Countless heroes and villains in every kind of drama have made it their home in literature, on stage and across screens big and small.

Often those characters are portrayed living in loft apartments – open spaces with high ceilings and large windows, typically featuring exposed brickwork and concrete, hinting at  former lives as offices or places of industry.

London too has had a flush of such properties – albeit on a smaller scale – with warehouses, usually along the Thames, converted.

Many have that NYC-feel, with original features celebrated amid the sleek worktops of fitted kitchens and cleverly cantilevered mezzanines. They are now, however, few and far between for enthusiastic buyers.

Homes at 8 Harbord Square are completely open-plan in the style of New York lofts

That’s where 8 Harbord Square comes in.

It’s styled by Karakusevic Carson Architects as a brick-built structure that wouldn’t look out of place in New York’s meatpacking district – a chunk of the city that became a hotbed of fashion design, culture, dining and residential property in the 1990s and 2000s.

Its story – of industrial decline followed by regeneration – is not dissimilar to Canary Wharf’s.

The difference here, of course, is that 8 Harbord Square is newly built, with none of the potential problems of an industrial conversion but all of the style of a chic, period loft.

“There are 82 apartments in total, spread over 12 storeys and they are very different to anything that we’ve ever built or sold before,” said Melanie Conway, director of residential sales at Canary Wharf Group.

“We’ve stripped everything back, so there’s exposed brickwork and concrete ceilings – the decor is very raw – with huge Crittall windows to let lots of light in.

“There’s a real openness to the lofts.

“They are very unusual – buyers are used to seeing apartments with bedrooms and living spaces laid out.

“Here, it’s very much up to the buyer how they want to live in them.”

The majority of the building’s floors – excluding the penthouses which have already sold – are split into eight apartments in two configurations.

The Prospect Lofts are just over 800sq ft of open-plan, undivided space.

Each comes with a fully-fitted kitchen in stainless steel, with Siemens appliances including a built-in washer-dryer.

Heating comes from cast iron radiators arranged along the walls, while ceiling fans provide air circulation throughout. 

The only walls are around the bathroom, which includes a black-framed shower cubicle, a free-standing bath and double sinks.

These properties are single aspect and are located in the centre of the building.

The Gramercy Lofts are similar in every respect, except that they extend to a little over 1,000sq ft and are arranged on the four corners of each floor with twice as many windows.

“We’ve been holding off on a big launch until the building is nearly finished, because the best way for buyers to understand these spaces is to walk into them,” said Melanie.

“We’re expecting people to be able to move in by the end of the year.

The building has been styled to echo properties in NYC’s meatpacking district

“It’s been very interesting to see who has bought here already – it’s a real mix from young couples to downsizers who love the warehouse style, and even students.

“It’s a design that appeals to lots of different people because you can move everything around. 

“We could have dropped the ceilings and put in walls to create a typical layout, but we wanted to keep everything real.

“There’s not much decoration to be done and very little maintenance as there’s hardly any wall space that needs painting.

“The properties will also stand the test of time from a design-point of view – they won’t date.

“People buying here might be looking at older warehouses, but 8 Harbord Square is newly built so there won’t be unexpected leaks or any issues like that.

“They’re also really well insulated because they have been designed as homes. They are new, but also really cool.

“They’re very tranquil too, overlooking Harbord Square Park – an oasis of calm away from the bustle.”

Following the completion of two show apartments at the scheme, Canary Wharf Group is marking the occasion with a New York-style takeover of the whole of Wood Wharf.

The event runs for four days from September 20-23, 2023, with offers, pop-ups and installations.

VSCROLL DOWN THE PAGE FOR A SELECTION OF OFFERSV

“Wood Wharf feels very much like the residential district of Canary Wharf and, with 8 Harbord Square offering warehouse-style living, the takeover seemed like a great way to promote the building,” said Melanie.

“New York sits very well alongside the buildings here and on the estate as a whole.

“Right now it’s about awareness and it’s also an opportunity for people to discover what it’s like to live here.

“From the moment people leave one of our stations, the whole estate is managed by Canary Wharf Group.

The Prospect is the smaller of the two layouts stretching to 800sq ft

“There’s also security on site, 24-hours a day and a high level of cleanliness and service across the estate.

“Well known as a commercial area, for us it’s about communicating how much the Wharf has changed even since work began on Wood Wharf in 2015.

“People are now investing their time and money into coming to the estate as a leisure destination – the shops, the bars, the restaurants and so on.

“The transport is fantastic and, while people were initially buying here because they worked locally, we’re now seeing them make their home here and work elsewhere.

“People just love it.”

Show apartments at 8 Harbord Square are now available to view with prices for a Prospect apartment starting at £770,000.

Patty & Bun will be serving up its Classic American burger with a free cocktail for the takeover

AMERICANA ON THE WHARF

Mini Manhattan – that’s what they call the Isle Of Dogs – so what’s this takeover all about, anyways?

Wood Wharf is set to be transformed into the Big Apple for four days from September 20-23, 2023.

Running 11am-7pm, expect big yellow taxis, break dancers, chess tables in Harbord Square, a subway station and an authentic US school bus serving up hot dogs and pizza by the slice.

Have a nice day now. 

In addition to the various special events that will be taking place over the four days, many of Wood Wharf’s businesses will be getting involved with the takeover, adding further layers to the immersive experience. Here are the deals to look out for:

  • Free Manhattan cocktail

Head down to the corner of Water Street and Park Drive, where Mallow will be adding a very special item to its entirely plant-based menu for the duration of the takeover.

Order its French Dip – featuring portobello mushrooms, caramelised red onion, horseradish cream, red wine jus and butter pickles – for £15 and you’ll receive a Chocolate Cherry Pie Manhattan for free to go with it.

The cocktail is made with Bourbon, Mozart dark chocolate liqueur, sour cherry molasses and bitters – for a potent take on a New York classic – and costs £9 on its own.

Mallow will have a French Dip on the menu with a free Chocolate Cherry Pie cocktail over the four days
  • Fresh gelato and cawfee

Downtown on George Street, visitors will find American flags draped over statues outside MMy Wood Wharf, which inside will be serving piccolo gelato cups with a single espresso for £5 during the takeover.

Mac ’n’ cheese will also be available, as will American craft beers including east coast brew Good Vibrations by NEPA for £7.90 per pint.

  • NYC flavours

Water Street’s Feels Like June is becoming Feels Like Brooklyn for the duration of the takeover and will be serving up NYC Bagels with pastrami, emmental cheese, pickles and mustard for £7 or with chives and cream cheese for £6.

The venue will also be hosting sets from its resident DJ from 4pm-9pm over the four days.

  • Free New York Sour

Order up the Classic American for £13 at Patty & Bun on Park Drive and customers will get either a free NY Sour or a can of Coca Cola with their burger. 

Hawksmoor is serving three of the best sellers from its actual New York restaurant until Sept 24
  • Cocktails for £10 each + a free one

Drawing on inspiration from its actual New York branch, Hawksmoor and its bar The Lowback will be offering a trio of the best drinks available at its US location for the special price of £10 each.

So that’s the Manhattans, Cosmos and Dirty Martinis sorted.

But wait, there’s more.

The venues will also welcome tables of up to four guests with a complimentary Big Apple Martini for all diners at lunch or dinner.

Bookings should be made via email to thelowback@thehawksmoor.com quoting NYC x Canary Wharf. Better still, both offers will be available until September 24, 2023 – an extra day after the takeover ends. 

  • Gelato pop-up

George Street restaurant Emilia’s Crafted Pasta is set to step outside its walls with a special pop-up throughout the takeover.

The venue’s gelato cart promises to serve up 100% Italian ice cream – one scoop for £4.50 and two for £6 in either waffle cones or paper cups.

Visitors can expect to choose from creamy mascarpone, Sicillian pistachio, raspberry sorbet and chocolate and hazelnut. There may even be a few bonus surprises from the staff.  

The skincare, haircare, fragrance, candle and gift brand will be taking over a corner of Wood Wharf for the NYC event.

Founded in Chelsea (New York City) in 2004, the company aims to create products that will work with all skin types, growing and expanding over the years to meet demand.

For the takeover, its portable cart will be offering samples and cards offering discounts at its Canary Wharf store in Cabot Place. Naturally, terms and conditions apply.

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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 Fish Game serves up something different in Wood Wharf

Restaurateur Roberto Costa has engaged head chef Matt Colk to run his seasonal venue in Water Street

Fish Game head chef Matt Colk, formerly of The Gun

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There’s something a little bit radical about Fish Game that sets it apart from the carefully crafted interiors and presentation of its neighbours.

Dishoom has a delicately written founding myth about a rogue banker that informs its entire design.

Mallow has earthy colours with golden accents.

In contrast, Fish Game is the rock dropped into the serene waters of Wood Wharf.

Here there’s a giant artwork of a man apparently eating credit cards with his head wrapped in cling film, tree stumps supporting glass tables, colourful fishing floats and flailing squid hanging from the ceiling and a private dining room decorated with images of Mafia bosses.

The restaurant, which recently opened its doors is the latest creation of Roberto Costa – the man behind Macellaio RC, a chain of six establishments named in honour of the Italian word for butcher plus his initials.

These feature butchery as theatre and plenty of Italian produce and dishes as befits a son of Genoa.

Fish Game, however, is different again – a bamboozling, hedonistic sort of a place that nevertheless rests firmly on four pillars – bread, veg, fish and, naturally, game.

To ensure those pillars are well founded, Roberto has turned to head chef Matt Colk – who returns to E14 having previously spent eight years cooking at The Gun (a little further to the east and right on the Thames) before a brief flirtation with Soho and then Fish Game.

It’s some distance from his start in hospitality.

“I began cooking when I was 14 in a little chip shop in North Lincolnshire,” he said. “I went on to do graphic design at college but my part-time job in the kitchen was much more fun.

“When I was 18 I came to London and first of all worked at Christopher’s Restaurant And Martini bar in Covent Garden before moving on to Roast in Borough Market.

“Then I worked at the RAC Club in Pall Mall, winning Worshipful Company Of Cooks’ Young Chef Of the Year in 2013 before joining The Gun in 2015.”

Rabbit Croquettes with marjoram and lime zest mayonnaise at Fish Game

The approach at Fish Game, however, strikes a contrast with his previous roles.

Having impressed with two dishes he served Roberto during a cook-off, he got the job and then discovered things in his new restaurant would be quite different.

“Roberto wants everything rustic, a bit more rock ‘n’ roll – everything natural,” said Matt.

“He wants to change people’s idea of what food is – to try all the good bits that people normally get rid of.

“In the beginning it took time because I was making dishes the way I used to, but Roberto didn’t care for recipes or classics. Everything had to be different.

“That took a bit of time to get used to but I sought inspiration and had a few ideas.

“We’ve broken the menu down into four sections with bread, veg, seafood and meat. If you need advice the waiter or storyteller will come and advise you what to have.

“It can all come together or separately – that’s how people enjoy eating.

“They can share and there’s never any rush.

“Diners can have small plates or big plates, whatever they want, and then order more if they are still hungry.

“It’s simple food cooked well. Roberto loves the diversity of England’s produce and wants to showcase that.”

Early signs seem to indicate that’s something customers are eager to experience.

While only open a short time, bookings have been strong with Matt and his team of chefs working furiously to satisfy full services.

Roman Tigella bread withe rabbit and offal at Fish Game

The menu is certainly a singular creation with ingredients cooked primarily on the ash and charcoal of Fish Game’s bank of grills.

“We’re in the middle of four really good restaurants here, but I love that this isn’t a chain,” said Matt.

“The feedback has been really good so far and people are getting used to the food. 

“There are dishes on the menu that have taken two months to create, but the one everyone loves is something that took me five seconds to whip up.

“Roberto turned to me and said he wanted a squid dish on the menu – I asked when, and he said: ‘Now’. So I looked in the fridge, found a few ingredients and made the one that’s on there now.

“It’s charcoaled squid served with fermented chilli and fried cavolo nero – it just works. There’s a little bit of sugar and salt in there against that chilli sauce.”

Chilli is a big ingredient for Fish Game. In fact the restaurant is certainly the only place in Canary Wharf that boasts a tasting menu dedicated to the plant’s spicy fruit. 

This offers diners the opportunity to taste peppers from Italian farm Vivi Piccante ranging in heat from a prickly 100,000 to 2.3million units on the Scoville Scale.

For contrast, a supermarket Jalapeno is around 2,500 units.

While Matt isn’t afraid of some spice, his dishes are designed to delight rather than melt guests, often focusing on less frequently used ingredients.

“I’m proud of the ox heart, which is marinated for 12 hours in garlic and chilli plus olive oil, that we source from near Roberto’s home in Italy,” said Matt.

“Then it’s seared on the charcoal and served with a crunchy carrot salad, with red onion, salt, pepper and lemon juice.”

Sea bream at Fish Game

Other offerings include a gamey take on an Italian classic in hare arancini, a dish of smoked duck breast and duck leg, a venison tartare with bone marrow and rump of mutton with fresh mint and mustard.

Game dishes range from £6.50 to £52 for a beef ribeye off the bone with bone marrow.

On the aquatic side, there are oysters (£6 for two), langoustines with samphire, mussels with venison nduja and monkfish with rosemary, lime and sea salt.

Dishes range in price from £6 to £50 for a butterfly sea bream served with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and basil.

“If I was ordering, I’d start with the Tigella bread from Rome (£9), which is served with rabbit and offal cooked over ash and finished with parsley, fresh garlic and lemon juice,” said Matt.

“Then, of course, I’d have the squid (£9). Sometimes the people are right.

“They even rave about the potatoes we serve but they’re just crispy new potatoes with chilli, garlic, chives and lime.”

In addition to the skill of the chef – after all Matt used to write a recipe column for Wharf Life when he was at The Gun and we don’t let just anyone do that – key to the success of a restaurant is the produce it has to work with.

Fish Game promises to regularly change its menu to fit in with what’s in season, whether that’s meat, fish or vegetables.

“It’s a little early for game season at the moment, but come August 12 we will have grouse on the menu and we also plan to feature partridge, pheasant and quail at the right time,” said Matt.

“We’ll be sourcing our game from the Windsor Park Estate, which is pretty local to us.

“In fact, if they turn the menu over, diners will be able to see where we get all of the fish, meat and game that we use within the UK, which is a nice touch.

“For Roberto it’s important that we serve things that stand out.

“That includes the fact we only offer two desserts – a tiramisu that’s made at the table and a lemon tart with seasonal fruit.

“We’ve also got an ice cream machine that we’re going to use to make a gelato with olive oil and sea salt. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s really good.

“I’ve been here two months, but as for the future I’d love to win a Michelin star and then perhaps see if we can expand to another site or two.”

Venue owner Roberto Costa with Matt

So there you have it, the Wharf’s latest arrival packed with unusual produce, dishes, decor and verve. 

Fish Game is, Matt tells me, currently looking for talented chefs – who wouldn’t want to chance their arm at a project that aims to stand out and get noticed?

Oh, and before I forget to mention it, as if potent art, a chilli menu and plenty of food isn’t enough, the Water Street restaurant also distinguishes itself by offering drinks served from its extensive Agave Bar.

Specialising in Tequila, Raicilla and Mezcal (with a single Sotol on the list too) this promises to add a potent note to any dinner.

And there certainly isn’t time to go into a cocktail list that’s classified by a system of chess pieces.

You’ll just have to head down to Wood Wharf, bag a table and work your way through them, by which time the whole enterprise might make some kind of sense.

Find out more about Fish Game via this link

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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 Wood Wharf Kindergarten offers tailored childcare

Recently opened nursery provides a haven for kids aged 0-4 on edge of Harbour Quay Gardens

Everything at Wood Wharf Kindergarten is play-based

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Humans change physically, mentally and emotionally at a faster rate in their first few years than at any other point in their lives.

The experience and stimulation they encounter during this formative time plays a crucial role in their development, laying the foundations for the people they will later become and the individuality they will express.

These are facts that are uppermost in the minds of staff at Wood Wharf Kindergarten, which recently opened its doors in Canary Wharf. 

Arranged in generously proportioned surroundings over the two lower floors of 10 Park Drive, it offers childcare to babies and young children aged 0-4, 51 weeks of the year.

The children are taken out twice a day in all weathers

‘Tailored’ is the word that best sums up its approach.

“Getting to know the family and understanding what their needs and their child’s needs are is the most important part,” said Heleanna Phair, nursery manager at Wood Wharf Kindergarten. 

“The first thing we do is to invite parents in for the settling-in sessions, which we do together.

“A lot of nurseries will ask parents to bring their children in for an hour and then leave them at the door. 

“We believe the parents should be in the room with the children to help them to become familiar with the environment and with the staff – especially the key person who will be looking after them.

The nursery works with the interests of each child

“Then, slowly, the parent moves away and stays downstairs so they’re on call if needed.

“We don’t allow any child to start unless they’ve gone through that settling-in process and we feel the child is emotionally ready. Of course, that looks different for each child and family.

“Once we’ve been through that process, parents have a key person who acts as the main point of contact and will send them daily information about what their child has been doing.

“We’ll let them know if the children are sleeping, if they’ve had a bottle or gone out for a trip – those notifications and photos go out throughout the day, which is a real comfort for people.

“Every six weeks we’ll write a long learning story, so parents get an update on their child’s developmental milestones, and then we’ll invite them in every three months for a bit of a parents’ evening for a catch up on how things are going.

“We  have very strong parent partnerships here, and parents are always invited in at the beginning and end of every day for a verbal handover.

“It’s so important we work with them, that they know what their child has been doing and how they are developing.”

Nursery manager Heleanna Phair

With a track record of achieving assessments of “outstanding” from Ofsted in previous roles, you don’t have to sit with Heleanna long to feel her obvious passion for the job she does.

“I’ve lost count of the number of years I’ve been in nursery management,” she said.

“Of course there’s a lot of legislation to take into account, but I think that if you’re genuinely passionate about what you do and that you really think about the children and parents you have in your nursery then that’s what helps you gain this level of recognition. 

“No nursery is the same as another – they all have challenges.

“My first management role was for a charity and, because many of the children were disadvantaged, what they really needed was feeding, love and attention. 

“Here we have some children who have nannies, language classes and swimming lessons and have had the opportunity to travel a lot.

“So, for us, the challenge is to provide a curriculum that is exciting and engaging, because they have so many experiences in the bag already.

“To do that we make sure everything we do is fresh, current and child-led. There’s no top-down approach to our teaching at all.

“We see the children each day – discover what their interests are – and then plan learning opportunities for the next day.

The nursery caters for children aged 0-4

“I always mention to parents when they come in at first that we may not move a child up from the babies room at 18 months because they might not be ready.

“Equally, we have a boy at the moment who is only 14 months, but is ready for the toddler room because he just wants more stimulation. 

“Knowing the children and parents and reviewing the service as you go is really important.

“I once worked at a nursery that operated 12 rooms and the children were moved every six months.

“That was really bad for them emotionally because they were not forming attachments with the staff.

“Here we make sure that three moves is the maximum and we only make them when the children are ready, which means the age range in each room is quite broad but also that each child is in the right place.

“We have a qualified early years teacher in our pre-school room, which is a real benefit. They are responsible for our school readiness programme.

“This, like all of our teaching, is play-based, but prepares the children for formal education with an emphasis on literacy and numeracy.”

While staff at Wood Wharf Kindergarten preside over a curriculum that includes Spanish, Mandarin and even Yoga, the overwhelming atmosphere is one of fun.

Softly furnished rooms are filled with wooden toys, books and activities intended to sneak a little knowledge in while the kids are simply having a good time.

But the nursery is about more than just the building itself. 

“We’re an outdoor learning nursery and we go outside in all weathers,” said Heleanna.

“We don’t keep them in if it’s a bit cold outside and we are in the process of securing a permanent outdoor space next to the nursery with a temporary one set up at Union Square in the meantime.

Wood Wharf Kindergarten is located on the edge of Harbour Quay Gardens

“I’m always very clear with parents about this because I really believe in it. It’s the same with messy play.

“We always ask that the children should be dressed in old clothes – nothing precious.

“It’s so important not to have barriers to learning so if the children don’t want to wear aprons, then we won’t make them.

“Having a close relationship with the parents is really important so they understand our approach and its benefits.

“It’s the same across the curriculum. If any of the children don’t want to take part, then they don’t have to. 

“That’s why we only have full-time staff because its so important for our key people to observe the children every day so they really know how they are doing.

“Nothing is structured, but there are always goals behind the activities – to me ‘outstanding’ looks like giving children the best possible experiences and we are so lucky to be here in Canary Wharf to do that, with Crossrail Place Roof Garden and all the parks to explore.

“The staff take the children out twice a day – often on quite long trips, including places such as Mudchute Park And Farm on the Isle Of Dogs – a favourite with everyone.”

Located on the edge of Harbour Quay Gardens overlooking West India South Dock, Wood Wharf Kindergarten sits on the quieter half of the estate. 

Packed with toys and equipment, it also offers food to meet any dietary requirement from head chef Mitchell Wilkinson – a cook with decades of experience working for the likes of Wimbledon and The Hurlingham Club before moving into educational settings.

“We do have some spaces at the moment and I’d urge parents to get in touch,” said Heleanna.

“We can host them for stay and play sessions if they like because we know it’s important to be sure.”

Wood Wharf Kindergarten fees – which include all meals, snacks, formula, nappies and trips – are £120 per standard day for under-3s and £110 for 3+.

Those interested in securing a place can get in touch with the nursery here.

The nursery is based on Park Drive in Canary Wharf’s Wood Wharf district

Read more: How Padium is set to bring padel tennis to Canary Wharf’s Bank Street

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Canary Wharf: How Mallow is bringing plant-based food to Wood Wharf

Borough Market-based Mildreds offshoot expands to east London with zero waste Park Drive eatery

Pulled Mushroom Biryani with plum tomato shorba, cucumber coconut sambol, cardamom raita and spiced almonds, £19 at Mallow

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“I want people to feel joyful, satisfied and surprised when they come to eat at Mallow,” said Sarah Wasserman.

“My favourite thing is when someone tells me they’ve brought a non-vegetarian person to the restaurant and that they couldn’t believe how much they enjoyed the food.”

As if Patty & Bun, Feels Like June, Dishoom, MMy, Hawksmoor and Emilia’s Crafted Pasta weren’t enough, Canary Wharf is set to get two new openings at Wood Wharf, just across the road from one another.

Roberto Costa’s Fish Game is coming at the end of the month, but it’s plant-based Mallow, which is taking bookings from Friday, June 26, 2023.

As head development chef for Mildreds restaurants, and its sustainability focused offshoot Mallow, it’s Sarah’s responsibility – alongside partner in crime Alessandra Malacarne – to create dishes that will feed and delight the growing brands’ guests.

“I started out as an art school kid and spent seven years studying at places like St Martin’s and Goldsmiths,” said Sarah.

“I realised during that time that I wasn’t going to make any money as an artist so I started working in food places.

“As a vegan, that included travelling round the States working in places where you grind your own flour and make your own hemp sandals – all of that stuff. 

“I started out doing some shifts as a student when I was at the Royal Academy Schools and eventually became a manager in the original Mildreds restaurant.

Head development chef for Mildreds and Mallow, Sarah Wasserman

“After that I ran the salad bar, worked as head pastry chef and then as head of central kitchen.

“From there I co-authored three cook books and eventually became the development chef. 

“Then I was allowed to bring in Ally to help me, so that officially makes me head of development for Mildreds and Mallow because there are two of us.

“I’ve worked there for 17 years now, on and off.”

For those who don’t know, Mildreds is a Soho institution, founded by Jane Muir and Diane Thomas in the late 1980s.

“They wanted to eat in a more compassionate, sustainable way but thought the whole vegetarian scene was so uncool, with wall hangings and things like that” said Sarah.

“They wanted to eat in a great, contemporary place that just happened to have good vegetarian food.

“That’s the vibe – and to this day, nothing goes on the menu unless it tastes great. 

“I didn’t even know it was vegetarian when I walked in – this was back in the time when you could just turn up with your CV and get a job – it just looked like a cool little place. 

“All the big production houses and music offices were there, so lots of people from those places would come and it was pretty cool to just pop in.”

An artist’s impression of how Mallow will look in Wood Wharf

As time has passed, Mildreds has expanded to five locations in the capital and in 2021 decided to try something new.

It opened Mallow in a fine red brick building right across the road from Southwark Cathedral, right on the edge of the hustle and bustle of Borough Market.

It’s this brand that is set to arrive in Canary Wharf this month – but what is it? 

“When the original site in Southwark became available, we knew it had to be something special,” said Sarah.

“Borough Market is where all the fruit and veg for London would have been coming and the basement of the building we have has been used as the banana store for the whole city.

“With Mildreds we already had something plant-based and internationally inspired and with Mallow we were really trying to expand on the potential of its location and the nearby suppliers – to do that with as little waste as possible.

“We took the name because it’s a plant you can use from the root to the leaves. Marshmallows also get their name from it because when you cook down the root you get a gelatinous substance that, before gelatin, was used to set jellies and sweets.

Burnt Aubergine Muhammara Borek served with green tabbouleh, baba ganoush cream and ezme, £18 at Mallow

“That’s a tradition that had been lost and I think it’s great to bring back a seasonal ingredient like this.

“It’s a tweak we apply to everything – we try to use as much as possible of the produce we’re working with in the most interesting way we can.”

The plan with Mallow has always been to simply take seasonal produce and then create something fun and delicious with it, while also operating as close to zero waste as is practical. 

Visitors to the forthcoming Wood Wharf venue can expect more of the same, with an expanded menu and the odd special event drawing inspiration from across the globe.

Working tirelessly alongside Sarah in that mission is fellow development chef Alessandra. 

“Originally I wanted to be a doctor, but cooking has always been my passion,” she said. “I would always relax by cooking for myself. 

“I was living in Pisa and looking for a job to make some money to get an apartment and that’s when I started in hospitality.

“It was everything I like – the food and the kitchen. I realised I didn’t want to live with my head in a book. 

Alessandra came to London from Italy

“I had no experience so I worked my way up – learning from a Michelin-starred chef. In one hotel I worked my way up from cleaning fridges.

“I’d never really felt at home in Italy but I loved London – I’d always dreamed about moving here.

“My best friend shared that dream and so we did it. 

“After a couple of years working in restaurants I joined Mildreds because I wanted to be vegan.

“The thing for Mallow’s menu is that we don’t just stick with something we already know, we always like to change it up and that can be quite a challenge.

“We like to go from country to country and pull things together.”

“We have quite a bit of fun with it,” added Sarah.

“We’re pretty irreverent – Mallow is much more fusion than Mildreds, more playful.

“For example we’ll be doing marinaded corn ribs cut through the centre so when you bite them they’re really juicy and flavourful.

“What we want is a good balance of international influences so there’s a nice flow of flavours from different places.

“There’s a nice sort of symmetry to the new site because the first restaurant is where much of the fruit and veg in London was sold.

“The docks would have been where it was coming into the city.

“As the first purely plant-based restaurant in Wood Wharf, we’re appropriate, because today Canary Wharf has a huge amount of people from all over the world working and living there and we try to cater for a very diverse range of tastes. 

“Mallow in Wood Wharf will also feature some new dishes, an expanded wine list and some new cocktails. “

Mallow is located in Wood Wharf’s 12 Park Drive and is set to open at 8am on weekdays and at 9am on weekends.

You can find out more here.

Shitake Miso Croquettes with pickled shimeji, shiso and yuzu mayo, £9 at Mallow

Read more: How Padium is set to bring padel tennis to Canary Wharf’s Bank Street

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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 Qube is delivering a quiet revolution with Wood Wharf studios

Co-founder Amin Hamzianpour on creating a membership model for creative content creators

The Qube is set to open 24 studio spaces at Wood Wharf

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The ever increasing numbers of people strolling though Wood Wharf will likely remain mostly unaware that a revolution is taking place on the first floor of a Park Drive office block. 

It’s not that Canary Wharf hasn’t welcomed creative endeavours in the past.

It hosted a TV station in the 1990s – Live TV, complete with eponymous show Canary Wharf, a sort of soap opera-meets X-Files affair with a woeful budget and acting to match. 

It’s served as a backdrop to numerous films including both 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later as well as Welcome To The Punch with James McAvoy and Mark Strong facing off as a grizzled detective with a gammy knee and a notorious, violent criminal respectively.

Its Tube station stood in for the Death Star in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with Adams Plaza popping up again in TV show Andor as part of an evil Imperial base.

With the exception of the odd media company, however, what Canary Wharf has never had is a series of spaces dedicated to creative content generation.

Co-founder of The Qube Amin Hamzianpour

Enter Amin Hamzianpour – musician, music producer and former Morgan Stanley analyst, who is bringing The Qube to the estate.

In a nutshell, it offers flexible, plug-and-play studios for rehearsal and recording 24 hours a day. But it’s also much more than that and here’s how it happened. 

“I have a bit of an eclectic background,” said Amin.

“I did a degree in human sciences at Oxford and then, encouraged by my parents, I went to work in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, ironically in Canary Wharf.

“I didn’t like it at all. I liked being around hard-working, ambitious, intelligent people, but the work wasn’t what I wanted to do.

“I’d always created things – I was a musician, I played, wrote songs and also made animations when I was young. 

“Working in banking felt as though I wasn’t making anything, so I eventually quit to pursue a career as a songwriter.

Qube East offers fully equipped facilities including rehearsal studios

“My parents knew how hard-working I was, so they were very supportive.

“With finance, if you wait around long enough, the money gets so good that it’s difficult to leave and I could see that happening to me.

“I thought that because I was working such long hours in banking, that, if I applied that effort to music, I might get 50% less money, but I would have a much more fulfilling life.

“I was quite naive about how difficult it was to build a career in the music industry.

“I rented a basement room from a friend and tried to soundproof it, but it was a bit of a disaster. 

“Still, I started making music every day, emailed every single blogger and every single label, trying to get my name out there.

“After about six months someone very well connected on the blogging scene miraculously reached out and said they really liked my stuff.

“So I met with him, made one house record, he sent it out to the blogs and we made the alias quite anonymous.

Qube East also boasts a bar area, open to non-members on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights

“ The blogs picked it up and it exploded online, and the next thing I knew, I was getting offers from every major record label.

“It went from one day when nobody knew who I was to me having meetings with Universal, Sony, Warner, which was the dream.

“Having now had a career in music for five or six years, I now realise how ridiculously improbable that was, and it was a probably a bad thing, because at the time I thought that was just how easy it was.

“I signed to Spinnin’ Records – a Dutch label – and Polydor picked it up and put it online.

“It got something like a million plays, which at the time was quite good. So I built my career thereafter and became a house artist when electronic music was really flying.

“I released quite a few singles on different labels – Ministry Of Sound, Universal, Polydor – and while nothing was majorly successful, I was making a living.

“Then I started writing and producing for loads of different artists.”

It was at this point Amin discovered how difficult it was to find good studio space at an affordable price with the only offerings seemingly £1,000 a month contracts for a year or substandard dingy basement rooms with non-existent soundproofing.

Then he met co-founder of The Qube, Nick Sonuga, who was building studio spaces that would fill up immediately due to demand.

The studio spaces are plug and play with equipment in place ready to go

“Initially, I thought that if I did one or two studios with him, I could make a base salary and then continue making music,” said Amin.

“One of the most frustrating things about being a musician is the variability in income, which could be 300% either way, with no way of predicting it.

“That was difficult as I was starting to get older.

“So I started talking to Nick about finding solutions to these problems.

“How could we come up with a space that provides everything creative people need, that is affordable, flexible and provides a community?”

The pair came up with the blueprint for The Qube, found a warehouse in west London and put down their joint life savings as a deposit before going out to investors to raise £2million.

Launched in 2020, it houses 40 studios designed for everything from creating music to podcasts and photography. 

The spaces come fully furnished with equipment with members paying between £75 and £2,000 a month for varied levels of credits that are translated into studio time.

Some studios are set up for DJs to use

“It’s open 24 hours a day and it did really well – miraculously it turned a profit within six months, which was quite staggering,” said Amin.

“I think it was a testament to how much people want this product and there’s no-one really doing this apart from us.

“While it is challenging to serve all the different markets – the podcasters, vloggers and musicians – we have a team of really experienced people from all walks of life to look after them.

“Every startup is an experiment. Everyone involved with The Qube is creative and we’re developing products that we would want to use.

“We’re trying to stay true to that. We think there’s a huge opportunity here – already if you’re a YouTuber, a podcaster or a music producer your parents will more likely be telling you to go for it than laughing at you.

“These people will need places to go and create work and wherever they want to do that there should be a Qube in their nearest city.”

On that path to global domination, Amin and Nick selected Canary Wharf as their second site due to the ease of travel in and out and the safety of its environment.

Amin said: “The obvious choice would have been Hackney or Shoreditch but we wanted to give people the best experience possible. 

“What we noticed about Canary Wharf is how unbelievably well connected it is, and that makes a huge difference, because people from all over London can get here quite easily.

“We also like the fact that we’re so different to other businesses here and can be an oasis within a totally different culture.

Qube East is open 24 hours a day for content creators to come and go

“Canary Wharf Group has been unbelievable in helping us get to the point where we can offer affordable pricing and build our dream as we wanted. 

“While people love our west London warehouse because it feels organic, we’ve spoken to our creators – many of whom are women – and we are aware they can feel genuinely uncomfortable accessing some spaces, especially at night.

“It’s a huge problem, but here it’s so safe.

“A lot of our members are using these facilities at night, starting at 9pm and leaving at 4am.”

It’s perhaps because community is so central to The Qube’s model that this is one of the driving factors in its decision to open in Canary Wharf.

“We are a members club and we curate every single application that comes in,” said Amin.

“At the moment we reject around 70% and we take people purely on the basis of talent – whether we think they have high potential and are creating high quality content.

“It has nothing to do with how many social media followers someone has and it is somewhat subjective – would you be happy being stuck in an airport lounge with them for an hour – but that means membership isn’t just about the value of the studios, it’s about every other person you meet and knowing that they’re going to be doing something really cool.

“We’re trying to filter out all that pretentiousness and bravado in the industry – we hate that.

“It also means our bar will be a great place to be and we’ll be opening that to non-members on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until 11pm, with an open deck policy on Thursdays and a resident DJ on Fridays.”

Applications for memberships at The Qube are open now.

Qube East is set to launch on March 24.

Read more: Discover regular monthly wine tastings at The Gun

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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 Dishoom’s latest east London opening is totally narrative-led

Brand co-founder Shamil Thakrar talks financial scandals, fictional characters and 1970s Bombay

Shamil Thakrar says Dishoom’s restaurants are all about stories – image Matt Grayson

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Dishoom is different. Over the course of 18 years in journalism, I’ve asked countless people to tell me about their businesses.

Typically they communicate how they came to start their company, what it does and why.  

However, when asked to tell me about the opening of Dishoom Canary Wharf, which recently arrived at Wood Wharf, the brand’s co-founder Shamil Thakrar simply said: “It’s a story.”

A simple, but completely serious point. This is no marketing flim flam. 

Before the company opens a new restaurant, its founders sit down and develop its back story in detail – a fact that hints at why this is the brand’s first opening in London for five years. 

But why not? After all, isn’t everything, to some extent, stories?

The ones we tell ourselves to understand the things around us, the ones we tell others to explain the world to them and the ones they tell us to illuminate their own impressions.

We grow up being read and reading them and seeing and hearing them on all kinds of platforms. Now we are increasingly encouraged to create our own myths via social media. 

Dishoom’s approach, which sees each individual cafe fleshed out exactly in line with its narrative, has won the brand significant success.

It’s known for patient lines of eager customers outside its venues and has a reputation as a generous employer that looks after its staff. 

You can visit the Canary Wharf branch without knowing any of the back story – nobody will refuse to serve you and the spiced chai will still taste great.

But, so rich is the narrative, that it permeates the whole experience, making it impossible to spend time in the restaurant without feeling its impact, even if that is subconscious.

 Every detail of the interior flows from the back story at Dishoom Canary Wharf
Every detail of the interior flows from the back story at Dishoom Canary Wharf – image Matt Grayson

“The story of the Canary Wharf cafe is a bloke – Nauzer – who has been living as a character in my head for quite a few years,” said Shamil. “Now the right place has come up for him. 

“He’s a really cool young guy, whose father owns an Irani cafe near the Bombay Stock Exchange.

“He sees some of the high rollers coming in and thinks he wants to be like them. He’s quite a canny kid, so eventually learns how to invest and does quite well for himself. 

“Then his family, friends and the local community start asking him to invest on their behalf. He does that and does really well – he makes good money for them and they’re getting wealthier, until one day, he does a bad deal and everything goes south.

“He doesn’t want to tell anyone because he’s so embarrassed and that sense of shame he has, which is an Indian thing, means he can’t face them – so he invents a Ponzi scheme where new investments are used to pay out fake returns to existing investors.

“Everything seems fine, even though it’s built on lies.

“Anyway, he makes the scheme work for a while and, with the winnings, he builds this restaurant – we imagine it’s his, hence the 1970s Bombay feel of the decor.

Dishoom Canary Wharf also sells items such as chai, condiments and cookbooks – image Matt Grayson

“He invests in art and other cool stuff, and his friends are up-and-coming stars. It’s a place for them.

“In the story we join him one day when he’s stressed out. The phone is ringing, he’s sweating and I imagine him in his room, traumatised because a journalist is on to him and that’s who’s calling – that’s where the story begins.”

Read Chapter One of Nauzer’s story here

Dishoom has now published all three instalments of the hapless investor’s tale on its website – but it’s in the restaurant where things really take shape. 

Walk in and you’re immediately hit by the scent of burning incense, the energy of a bustling bar and bright smiles all round as staff guide diners to their tables.

Everywhere there’s activity – it’s not much of a stretch to imagine this as an establishment just over the road from the busy stock exchange in Bombay. 

But there’s more. Look deeper and you’ll find house rules on the wall that outlaw Ponzi schemes, historically accurate ads in the menus, coloured porcelain in the washrooms and modernist 1970s decor.

The bar is called the Permit Room, recalling the legal hoops owners had to jump through to serve booze and there’s also a Family Room – an echo of the only spaces women were allowed to access in Irani cafes of old – complete with vintage photos of the owners’ relatives.

Everywhere there’s detail aimed at placing the visitor snugly inside the narrative. 

The bar serves a “scandalous” trio of miniature Martinis dubbed The Commander, The Lover and The Wife, inspired by a jealous Parsi naval officer who shot the man his other half was seeing illicitly before turning himself in.

There’s a glint in Shamil’s eyes as we talk – it’s just this sort of material that reflects Dishoom’s flair for the dramatic – ultimately all part of the owners’ ambition that visiting the restaurant should be a memorable experience.

“The most important thing, regardless of whether the restaurant is busy or not, is whether the guests are leaving happy and sated,” said Shamil.

“We have to create the conditions that allow diners to have an experience that’s amazing and that they are going to tell all their friends about. 

“The best way to do that is to make sure our team is happy and that’s our job.

The Permit Room bar at Dishoom Canary Wharf – image Matt Grayson

“We have really good people working for us who have an enormous amount of heart and determination in the current economic environment, so the right thing for us to do is look after them.

“Then, collectively we look after our guests and that, hopefully, keeps people coming back.

“We are conscious that sometimes we have a lot of people who stand in line for our food in queues – it’s lovely to have that although sometimes I’m embarrassed by making them wait.

“But we’re providing something people really want, and the key to that is to make sure that our food is really fantastic, our spaces are wonderful and our service is really warm – that is all down to supporting our team.

“That’s something we’ve been thinking about ever since we started the business. Running the company, it’s our responsibility to make sure our staff really love and enjoy the environment they’re working in.

“We like to pay well, but we also make sure we look after the other benefits – the less tangible stuff – so we do regular mental health workshops, for example.

“Then a little while ago, we had the idea for The Bombay Boot Camp where we’d take anyone who stayed with us for five years to the city and show them all the good places.

“We didn’t know whether we would ever take anyone when we started, but this year we’re taking 180 people.

“Some of the places we visit can only fit 15 or 20 people so we don’t quite know how the logistics will work yet, but it’s a trip that money can’t buy because we work really hard to visit places people would never normally go and that everyone who does feels special, welcome and rewarded for the work they do.”

Mini Martinis: The Commander, The Wife and The Lover at Dishoom

For Wharfers who can’t get over to Mumbai itself, Dishoom serves up an expansive menu of flavours to transport diners in spirit.

“We bring guests into the story and give them food and drink,” said Shamil.

“But the dishes and beverages we serve also have their own stories.

“My cousin Kavi and I now run the business and, when we were setting things up, we came across the heritage of the old Irani cafes, set up by Parsi immigrants from Iran. 

“We wanted to pay homage to them, their inclusive ethos and spirit, while at the same time riffing on the stories of Bombay.

“Take Pau Bhaji, for example. It’s mashed up vegetables with buttered Portuguese buns.

“There were colonists from Portugal in Bombay and their influence has become part of the city’s most delicious dish – all those stories are there.

“I think placing food in its cultural context is very important – you come along, eat it with the right music amid the right architecture – I want to give people a real taste of Bombay.

“We, the British, think we know India, and there are a number of cliches – Bollywood, cricket, curry houses, palaces, maharajahs, but I’m not sure that Britain really does know India.

Dishoom Canary Wharf features 1970s-style furniture – image Matt Grayson

“Do we know about the Bombay Stock Exchange, or that there was a great Art Deco movement post independence that signified liberty and modernity, to get rid of the old gothic architecture?

“On the food side, where we think of India as curry, there’s so much more. We don’t serve that much of what we would call curry today because there are so many other things to be said.

“Canary Wharf isn’t exactly a natural fit for us, but we’re excited to be here.

“The architecture in Wood Wharf, especially, is very cool, and I think we can bring a bit of fun and pizazz to this end of town.

“Then we’ve got a couple more good stories that we’re dreaming up for future openings.”

Dishoom Canary Wharf is open from 8am until at least 11pm on weekdays (midnight on Friday and Saturday and from 9am at weekends.

Dishoom co-founder Kavi Thakrar has selected his favourite dishes to order for Wharf Life readers
Dishoom co-founder Kavi Thakrar has selected his favourite dishes to order for Wharf Life readers

KAVI’S MENU PICKS

With so much on the menu, we went straight to the top and asked Dishoom co-founder Kavi Thakrar to pick out a few of his favourite dishes to help Wharfers make their own decisions:

1. First, the Malai Lobster. this is only available at Canary Wharf. It’s a great dish to share with friends as it feels celebratory, but won’t break the bank. Fresh daily from Billingsgate, it transports me to some of my favourite spots in Bombay to eat fresh seafood.

Malai Lobster – Priced by weight at £7.50 per 100g

Malai Lobster, £7.50 per 100g at Dishoom Canary Wharf
Malai Lobster, £7.50 per 100g at Dishoom Canary Wharf

2. Chilli Cheese Toast. We took this off the menu for a while but I’m so happy to see it back. It’s totally delicious with a Dishoom IPA – a sneaky snack when I’m by myself, just like sitting in an Irani Cafe at the end of a long day in south Bombay.

Chilli Cheese Toast – £5.70

Chilli Cheese Toast, £5.70 at Dishoom Canary Wharf
Chilli Cheese Toast, £5.70 at Dishoom Canary Wharf

3. And finally, I really love our Double Bacon And Egg Naan Roll. It is a great match of salty, sweet, a little heat and then the richness from the egg. I love having it with a house chai if I start my day at Dishoom

Double Bacon & Egg Naan Roll – £11.60

Read more: How Clays’ new bar has Canary Wharf in its sights

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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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