To paraphrase Duke Ellington, if you missed the DLR, you’ll find you missed the quickest route to Jazzgir. And that really would be a shame.
While the Canary Wharf estate has Boisdale and Big Easy, a fresh injection of live music is always welcome, especially as an attempt to bring a little life to the desert of Harbour Exchange.
Jazzgir is dressed in polished brass – modern deco to offset the 1990s styling of the faux pontoon it sits on.
At least a gentleman’s barber provides some insulation from the Co-op two doors down.
It’s not the kind of unit where two diners might expect to drop the best part of £200 on a couple of cocktails, three courses and a bottle of wine.
Nevertheless it has both the panache and, crucially, the quality to justify the premium it charges and the South Quay safari necessary for a visit.
There’s the free live jazz daily from 5pm. Polished performers play at a volume well controlled for dinner.
On the evening my companion and I visit, softly tooled male trio The Brogues offer gently swung interpretations of pop hits.
Easy listening rather than experimental free improv, their output is a fitting backdrop to the food.
The menu is blissfully short, broadly Italian (in contrast to the venue’s Turkish ownership) and delivered with astonishing speed by a smiling cohort of well-drilled staff.
My companion’s starter of tuna carpaccio is meagre for £12 and somewhat weak in comparison to my juicy bowl overflowing with succulent mussels (£10), positively flexing with the strength of their white wine and red chili broth.
Fortunately it’s my side of the table that’s generally indicative of the places quality and mains of rib eye steak (£25) and rabbit ragu with pappardelle (£18) are excellent, the fresh pasta nudging perfection on the incisors.
My companion remarks that it’s not often side dishes are worth ordering in isolation.
But portions of tender stem broccoli with garlic and chili at £4 glisten on the plate and sparkle in the mouth, such that they last only a few minutes.
With the likes of Raimond Vilde of Shake And Twist (last spotted at Craft London) assisting at the bar, the cocktails are no slouch either.
Coming up are The Canary Three, with Paloma Faith live bassist Andrea Goldsworthy tomorrow (Friday) and glam trio The London Belles the day after.
At the very least try it for a cocktail and some standards.
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