OF CANARY WHARFE
In the heart of Canary Wharfe, the new Lincoln Plaza is the perfect place to stay if you are going to the O2 or ExCel or want to explore the other-side-of-the-river attractions such as Greenwich or flying from London City Airport.
Set in the middle of the city’s commercial and commercial hub it’s outside is very misleading – but step inside and you are in for a treat.
It is a bit difficult to find I heard from a colleague. But my partner being a London boy and me having worked in Canary Wharfe as a magazine editor some years ago decided to follow our own directions taking the tube to Bank and then boarding the Docklands Railway to South Quay. From there its only a short taxi ride (if you have luggage) or a reasonable walk of only around five minutes.
The exterior of the hotel is very industrial in its design with lots of large windows and concrete but the far side of the hotel, which we discovered the next day has a more pleasant outlook.
Our check in was efficient and very friendly in the amazingly designed reception area that sort of free-flows with the rest of the ground floor amenities.
I loved the spacious feeling of the open plan ground floor with its myriad of brightly coloured seating and how it seamlessly flowed into the unique Food Store area comprising of a bar, restaurant and grocer each as spacious as the next.
The restaurant is colourful with its quirky décor of assorted coloured tables and chairs,wall plants, low hanging lamps. It is just so light and airy and serves the best breakfast in town. There’s such a wonderful choice from a Full English to Eggs Benedict, Pancakes, Smoothies and a wonderful home made porridge – all served in our particular case with a smile and such efficiency.
In the evening and at lunchtime it changes into a trendy place serving pizzas and hearty mains plus a great selection of small plates.
If you prefer the atmosphere of the bar then there’s a special menu of dishes that go well with everything from cask beer to cocktails, including light bites and platters of cheese and charcuterie that are simply delicious.
A Grocer in a hotel? That’s what I thought then I thought how fabulous. Here you can pop in and browse and it’s the ideal opportunity to get the staff to make up a gift hamper or box to take home to reward your baby sitter, dog or cat sitter or just your mum or gran for keeping the house in order or if like me you’ve forgotten that its your friend’s birthday, the day you get back, d pick up some of the fine grade chocolates, a fine wine or large sizes of the toiletries that are in your hotel bathroom.
The Grocer is also a brilliant idea if you are going out for the day from the hotel. They will make up a picnic hamper for you or you may just like to shop for some cheese, fruit or artisanal bread to take with you.
Our room was on the 11th floor. It was well planned and didn’t feel claustrophobic as many of the modern hotel rooms in the capital do. The décor was modern and although there was the archetypal light wood furniture and fittings it was mixed with darker and rusty toned wood giving it a modern influence.
There was a comfortable chair and pouffe for putting up tired legs and feet after a day on your feet and a table loaded with magazines and some interesting reading material. I particularly liked the iron shelves with their modern works of art as it gave the room a real homely feeling.
The bathroom was smartly appointed in white and grey marble with a great rainwater shower and I loved the mirrors in the bathroom which were lit by LED’s. There were the usual fluffy bathrobes, slippers and a collection of high class toiletries.
The Lincoln Plaza is home to Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, a high end, up market Pan-Indian restaurant. It’s an elegant place with an eclectic mix of décor including brass pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, some wonderful lighting and a large wooden elephant which tastefully dominates the spacious restaurant. The windows on three sides make it a light and airy space and I loved the inlaid wooden tables.
Here Cyrus Todiwala has created heritage dishes from all parts of India. We had only just sat down and before we knew it a mouth watering pickle tray and miniature poppadums had arrived.
The staff in here are well versed about every menu item and we took their advice regarding a starter and decided on Mr Todiwala’s Starter Platter for Two and were so glad we did. It came beautifully presented with four vegetarian and four non-vegetarian starters including tikkas to share.
I chose a vegetarian dish from the Tandoor or Clay Oven. Paneer and Vegetable Shaslick consisted of mushrooms, Paneer – an Indian whey cheese, quarters of mixed peppers, tomato, sweet potato and onions which was marinated in classical tandoori masala, skewered and chargrilled and served with saffron rice and coconut curry – the later of which I asked to be served on the side.
My partner chose Chicken Tikka which here is so different and tasty. It was not red in colour and traditionally flavoured and served with tadka daal and steamed rice.
Both dishes met with our approval and when it came time to order sweets our choices could not have been more delicious. My partner had mango sorbet, which really did taste of mangoes whilst I sampled Mr Todiwal’s Home Made Halman Apricot Toffee Ice-Cream with its unique flavour.
After dinner there was one place we had to go The Jack Speakbar On The Mess Deck – the exclusive cocktail bar on the first floor. This bar and outside terrace is a unique place. You could be a million miles away from Canary Wharfe. I just had to sit in the 70’s style hanging basket chairs on the hideaway terrace with its almost Caribbean décor. The bar itself inside has lots of sinkable Chesterfields and wonderfully comfortable arm chairs and the seating is well choreographed.
But the cocktail menu is so different with cocktails made from navy strength rums. The names are amazing from Mainbrace Mule to Navy Martinis and there’s even one called The Lord Chancellor and my favourite The Cucumber Collins with Gin, Brown Sugar, Lemon and Sherbet.
Watching the sun go down on the mess deck was something certainly to be savoured as was our stay at
The Lincoln Plaza.
The Lincoln Plaza, Millharbour, Canary Wharfe, London E14 9BD
Tel: 020 7987 1157 – lincolnplazalondon.co.uk