It’s not often I find myself in Canary Wharf but when I do, I relish its relentless modernity. With glittering glass towers and well-dressed denizens, it’s an entire other city to the begrimed and altogether more historic patch of London I call home – a visit always makes me feel as if I’d gone on holiday.
And of course, an essential part of being on holiday is relaxing over a well-made cocktail. As Canary Wharf is not teeming with bijou drinking dens, it’s always a relief to discover somewhere you can get a top-notch Martini. And when that Martini is served up with a stunning view of Canada Square and minus hordes of City suits, as it is at Plateau Bar and Grill, I’m even happier.
I first discovered Plateau last year on being invited to attend a cocktail masterclass run by Zoran Peric. I turned up on a day when the snow had crippled public transport, only to discover the class had been cancelled. However, I didn’t much care due to the aforementioned Martini, which was dry as a bone, huge and accompanied by three meaty queen olives.
The rescheduled class covered basic techniques, top tips, classic recipes and a hands-on competition. It was a good night but designed for novices and those looking for a fun alternative evening, possibly as corporate team building, rather than an intensive learning experience. The competition part of the night involved splitting the group into teams and then choosing from a hat what our base spirit was and what style of drink we were to make.
Frankly, our team got lucky with gin and Martini-style. I’ve given the recipe below – the name gives a nod to the bar’s postcode and the oriental influences of our ingredients.
3 Plymouth gin
3 fresh squeezed orange juice
1 lychee liqueur
1 Mandarin Napoleon (or Grand Marnier)
1 sugar syrup
Sliced fresh ginger
Muddle ginger and lime in a mixing glass. Add gin, orange, lychee liqueur, Mandarin Napoleon, sugar syrup and shake well. Garnish with a spiral of lime.