The Manhattan Grill sits very comfortably on the West India Quay of Canary Wharf. This place is brimming with style, but most importantly a talented team who know exactly what they are doing, and you can tell that they love what they do. With head chef, Damian Trejo having cooked for the likes of Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, the Manhattan Grill provides a star factor at every angle from start to finish.
Our experience starts in their G&Tea bar where we have a gin tasting session with the lovely Sam. Sam takes us through the tasting and stories of 7 gins where we hear of London’s first distillery, olden porn sellers, and where “Soho” originates from, to name a few.
Tasting highlights for me were the French Saffron gin, the Monkey47 (a Black Forest German gin sold only in 500ml bottles, giving it the exclusive edge), and the Opihr (a gin where the recipe was based on a spice being taken and infused into the gin from every port on its journey).
The bar was fairly busy for a Tuesday evening with a mix of cosy couples and booted businessmen. The restaurant was extremely quiet with the majority of tables being taken by solo suited chaps.
We couldn’t decide what to have for starter so our friendly (and rather good looking, a recurring theme in the staff) offered to have the kitchen do us a tasting platter of the starters. Juicy King prawns in mixed chilli garlic butter, Black pearl scallops with pea puree, Devonshire pork belly, and Baked Blue Swimmer crab cake. So pretty all together on the plate this should feature on their menu as a tasting platter.
The pork belly was far too salty for me although it was matched with a fruity cabbage- the flesh itself was heaven. The scallop with pea puree was insanely good – if I had to pick just one out of their starters, it would be this. Very closely followed by the crab cake; meaty, light and just the right amount of herbs. I also tried the clam chowder which tasted like a holiday I once had in the U.S – lovely.
In between courses you are invited to join a sommelier (free of charge), to try some classic wines and some interesting wines from South America, South Africa and Australia. Again, here the Manhattan Grill reinforces that they know their stuff and are going to make you feel special along the way. It also came to light that this company invest in their employees, sending them on courses and trips that are of interest, which clearly adds to the staff’s happy and passionate buzz.
Following our waiter’s suggestion on his favourite main I went for the Rib-Eye and my friend had the Fillet. The meat was superb and cooked to perfection- I asked for mine to be cooked however the chef wanted me to have the meat and it was a winner. Restaurant’s such as the Manhattan Grill that revolve around one important ingredient, means that it has to be on point. The meat was faultless.
For sides we had the macaroni cheese (although I wish we had opted for the version they do with lobster), seared mushrooms, and onion rings. I am a sauce monster – gravy, dips, marinades the lot. So I naturally asked to taste a selection of the restaurant’s sauces; Chimichurri, Bearnaise, Bourbon Peppercorn, and red wine. Unfortunately, the sauces were a let down- I found the Chimichurri over oily and the Bearnaise bland. Bourbon Peppercorn saved the day on the sauces and it went particularly well with the Mac N Cheese.
After both gin and wine tasting, a starter platter and a hunk of meat we decided to share the restaurant’s Key Lime Pie for dessert – light pastry and super citrus filling it was the perfect way to end the meal.
The experience from start to finish was 5 stars, there is no doubt about that. However I cannot forgive the issue with the sauces and over salted pork I’m afraid, hence a star has been deducted. You will certainly both arrive and leave with a smile on your face, and a slightly bigger belly than when you entered! Both myself and my friend said we would be back to dine and drink again. We had a fantastic time.
REVIEWED BY: Jordan Lohan
ADDRESS: 22 Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf London, E14 4ED
PRICE: £££ (explained)
STAR RATING: ★★★★ (explained)
TIPPING POLICY: Discretionary service charge of 12.5% added to bill