For an area that boasts so many towers there are remarkably few places that allow public access to the views.
Is it any wonder with such impediment to the good stuff that teenagers resort to jumping barriers, scrambling up One Canada Square and waving selfie sticks at themselves?
Fortunately French company Accorhotels, behind the recently opened Novotel on Marsh Wall, has spotted this niche and, somewhat later than planned, bar and restaurant Bokan has emerged over its 37th, 38th and 39th floors.
Executive chef Aurelie Altemaire has an impressive pedigree and the demeanour of a woman who’s spent her 18 years as a professional cook since the age of 15, embracing dawn’s early light, only to leave an unreasonable number of hours later.
Hard work is etched into her, not least by a decade working for Joel Robuchon rising to head chef at the Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.
But those experiences haven’t dented the joy she finds in her craft. It plays visibly at the corners of her mouth.
“The idea at Bokan is to facilitate very casual dining but to have the best of everything – to have top English produce and to make it a very simple, elegant menu,” she said.
“We want people to feel comfortable, to feel at home. Normally when you go to a fine dining restaurant you don’t feel at ease at all and that’s not what we want. We will treat every single guest as a friend.”
Having completed a “very, very busy” soft launch, Bokan’s roof terrace, bar and restaurant are in full swing at the top of the slender grey column over the dock.
In addition to the views, Aurelie’s ambition is for Bokan’s food and atmosphere to be an equal draw.
She said: “The restaurant looks amazing and we have a very good team. So far we have a lot of fun and I hope we can keep going like that.
"We are part of a big brand but we’re free to bring it to where we want. People should come to experience the restaurant.
“We have an amazing bar, great cocktails (priced from a refreshingly low-rise £7.50) and really great food that’s fairly priced (with mains from £17).
"We have a lunch menu that’s £21 for two courses and we want to turn that round really quickly because we know people in Canary Wharf need to get back.
"We have a tasting dinner menu, which is six courses for £60. This is seasonal so we’re always changing it.
“My favourite dish on the menu is organic lamb from Wales with aubergine and a chimichurri sauce.
"For a starter, I like the steak tartare or the burrata, very simple with a red pepper coulis.
"Everything is English with French technique and then a little bit of spice to celebrate the flavours that used to come through the docks in this area.”
Bokan is Anglo Saxon for beacon and, with little competition at height, this venue promises to shine brightly in Canary Wharf workers’ lives, especially with its roof terrace over the coming summer months.
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