By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Named after the Canadian Nobel Prize winner Lester B. Pearson, The Pearson Room is an addition to the expansive list of restaurants scattered around Canary Wharf, one of the city’s most prominent business districts. Opened as part of the Reebok Sports Club, finding the venue in time for our lunch reservations is almost as difficult as deciding to spend an hour on the cross-trainer next door, whilst plenty of diners are working their way through a menu of typical comfort foods. Reading through the menu, in fact, is another challenging task in itself, with a number of selections to choose from: Starters, Salads, Sandwiches, Meat, Seafood and Pasta, each of which comprise an average of five to six choices. By the time we’ve studied the gargantuan list of offerings, we feel we’ve actually earned our round of Cocktails to begin proceedings.
Created by head mixologist Vincenzo Apicella, the seasonal Cocktail list is delightful. We both begin with the signature Pearson Bellini, which combines Chambord Liqueur with thick nectar of fresh Raspberries and Blackberries, topped with Prosecco. So good, in fact, that we feel compelled to order the same again as soon as we slurp the soothing beverage as an introduction to our chosen starters. The Soup of the Day – Asparagus and Watercress is delightful, surprisingly refreshing and a wonderful antidote to the heat, and torn between a number of starters, (an often occurrence when you’re given too much choice) the waitress recommends the Smoked Salmon that’s served with toasted Brioche. As far as opening a packet and laying the slices onto a plate goes; the Smoked Salmon dish is good, although served with normal Toast, not Brioche.
In hindsight, I should’ve opted for the Pretzel fried baby Squid with Jalapeño Mayonnaise (£8.50) or the seasonal classic: Asparagus with Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce (£8.50). The new season Lamb (£24.00) seems an obvious failsafe choice to satisfy any diner. The meat is cooked exactly as my companion orders complimentarily accompanied by Buttery Cabbage, although the Kohlrabi is an unwelcome guest and the Peas taste a little on the frozen side. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the Cheeseburger, served with Fries, but with the amount of premium Burger joints across the capital, and for £15 I’d expect my mind to have been blown. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
Thankfully, the Desserts are a triumph. The Strawberry Eton Mess is simple yet satiating, and the deep-fried Apple Pie is reminiscent of a refined version of McDonald’s classic, which is a good thing. The chef has been heavy handed with the Cinnamon and it compliments the Apple wonderfully. What’s more, the filling isn’t as magmatic as you’d expect, allowing it to be eaten before the offices empty and the suited filo-faxers and residents arrive for the dinner service.
The Pearson Room can be found at 16-19 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5ER.