The Four Seasons Hotel in Canary Wharf has a well-deserved reputation for excellence – and is the popular choice with celebrities. And it’s easy to see why. Quadrato – the hotel bar and restaurant – is the pinnacle of excellence.
The Quadrato bar is what first greets you when you walk through the doors of the Four Seasons Hotel. The bar itself is quite small, but well-stocked and not as sterile as many hotel bars in the area. Shocking as it is for many places in Canary Wharf, the seating is actually comfortable and somewhat akin to armchairs – putting substance over style. The simple, warm and comfortable decor is extended into the restaurant, which is slightly more formal in its approach. White pillars with Qs carved into them stand proudly at the entrance. The tables are well presented with white tablecloths and black napkins kept inside silver rings. Even the breadsticks are beautiful! And the pristine kitchen is openly displayed behind glass so you can see the chefs at work – always a good sign. The pierce de resistance, however, is the terrace – a beautiful outside area that accommodates both drinkers at the bar and diners from the restaurant, weather permitting.
Quadrato definitely has an upmarket air – it is the Four Seasons Hotel after all. Based as it is in Canary Wharf, it is predominantly filled with people travelling for business. The best aspect of the atmosphere here comes from the staff. Despite being extremely professional, courteous and respectful of all their customers, they offer a personal, warm and friendly service to each and every individual. The managers join in with their staff to help where needed and make sure everyone is happy and has all they need. They’ll always make the effort to talk to you and make sure you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself. They’ll also happily talk you through the menus, offering recommendations and discussing the food and drink – which they are clearly the experts on. Simply excellent.
This is where Quadrato excels. The bar serves up some delicious aperitifs, and light bites but the restaurant is a truly delightful experience.
As well as a regularly updated specials menu, featuring food from different regions, there is a pretty special a la carte menu. The starters offer up dishes such as an exquisite crab meat and avocado tian with gazpacho sauce, which is one of the lightest starters you’ll have ever had. The crab works perfectly as a starter when mixed with the light, creamy textures provided by the avocado. I real delight.
The mains include a nice mix of pasta, meat and fish dishes. Highly recommended comes the squid ink tonnarelli with lobster ragout and prosecco bagna cauda, an absolutely exquisite dish that is creamy and rich, without being overpowering. The portions aren’t large, but the food is so rich that you don’t need much to fill comfortably full and content. The rosemary and lavender roast rump of lamb with ricotta parcels and artichoke alla giudea is a good example of this, with a tender, good cut of lamb that is more than enough to fill the stomach and satisfy the tastebuds. Although the ricotta parcels may not be to everyone’s tastes and don’t really complement the lamb, the side dishes are of a top quality and mix well with many of the dishes – especially the meats. The mash is creamy and melts in the mouth, with a fluffy consistency and the vegetables are seasonal with just the right amount of crunch.
Lastly comes the desserts – and here is where the restaurant really excels. Their tiramisu will be the best you’ve ever tasted. Even if you’re not usually a fan, it’s worth a try. Creamy and light, with the slightest coffee kick, they don’t skimp on portions and it’s big enough to share – not that you’ll want to! Overall, the meal will be impressive, if a drain on the wallet - with starters averaging at £10-£20, mains around £25 and desserts £10. All wonderfully presented and full of flavour, it’s worth every penny.
The bar is excellent – there’s even lager on draught in the form of Peroni. There is a nice selection of premium spirits and a small but perfectly formed choice of cocktails. Well mixed and presented, you won’t be disappointed. And at a reasonable £9 a go, it’s worth visiting the bar even if you’re not going to dine after.
There’s a large wine menu to peruse in the restaurant, with everything from the reasonable to the expensive and all well thought out and of a good quality. If you’re daunted, the knowledgeable staff are only too happy to offer up suggestions – and their recommendations are spot on. Highly recommended is the Cottanera Barbazzale, which is exquisite. Crisp and delicious, it’ll slide down the throat with ease.
The Last Word
Don’t be intimidated by the grandeur and reputation of The Four Seasons Hotel. Quadrato provides excellent service, wonderful drinks and amazing food – at a price – but one you’ll be happy to pay.