Lincoln Plaza is a stylish hotel in Canary Wharf that stands in the place of an old warehouse. It’s now a comfortable spot away from the fast paced life and hustle of the ultra modern, urban atmosphere of Canary Wharf in which to relax. It’s part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, the high-end and newest venture of the hotel group. If you haven’t already been to Canary Wharf during the weekend, you might be surprised at the vibe. I knew it as just a business hub with sleek bars, chain restaurants and an impossible place to navigate. However, many people seem to manage the last and it has become a real visitor’s hot spot. A tourist attraction, even. There’s a huge shopping centre and has become quite the popular weekend brunch location. It is different to the local cafes I usually amble to on a Sunday for breakfast. But this is where you come to meet people for a brunch date, for an organised, sophisticated kind of mid-day meal. I’ve previously tried nearby Big Easy for a barbeque bottomless brunch with a view and couldn’t believe how lively it was, complete with a waitlist. This is a rather long way to go about saying that brunch is a thing in Canary Wharf. And the newest spot is Food Store on the ground floor of Lincoln Plaza Hotel.
The hotel has been open for four months. It has the opulent Indian restaurant, Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, dark bar Jack Speak serving excellent cocktails – we retired here for a few after brunch – as well as Food Store’s bar and restaurant that has the feel of an open kitchen. Food Store sells a small amount of luxury food hall items in its in-house grocer including artisanal breads, house roast coffee, cheese and preserves, chocolate and wine. Ingredients on offer change with the season but all things sold and served are ethically produced and sourced, chosen and prepared by chef Rumel Pinnock. In the Food Store it’s food in abundance, both in decor and in edible terms. The starter course is a self-service buffet with beautifully displayed charcuterie and cheese with colourful salads for hungry brunchers to feast upon. Kids can fill up on bottomless puds and parents on sparkling wine and beer. It’s £25 a head for three courses of food, with an extra £20 for the free-flowing prosecco and Peroni. The drinks and pizza suggest there’s an Italian theme going on, but it’s really just a few firm favourite tastes and appealing dishes that suit the time of day and relaxed affair. Brunch starts at 11.30am and lasts ‘til 3pm, leaving time for an afternoon stroll around the wharfs of the Docklands.
The starter buffet food was fashionable and included brunch staples: breads, smoked salmon, charcuterie, cheese and salads decorate the bar, along with fruits, yoghurt, granola and nuts. Brunch itself is a rather odd thing where the off meal time, the stomach, taste buds and greedy create a mash up of a meal. But Food Store tries to cover you with more lunch-style options in the buffet such as a pear and walnut salad with blue cheese dressing, a classic greek salad and butternut squash with kale and pomegranate. Main courses are served at the table in the relaxed dining room. Kitchen tables and chairs create a comfortable eating atmosphere and the booth like sofas around the edge of the room are where you want to bag in order to lazily eat and people watch best. The menu features roast Launceston lamb shoulder with mint sauce, forest mushroom tagliatelle and cod fillet with lentils and black cabbage. There are also two pizza options. I had the tagliatelle, which was homemade egg pasta and cooked perfectly al dente. My date had a huge, delicious looking golden chicken breast with roast trimmings, which seemed like the perfect option moving quickly from brunch to Sunday lunch. The chicken was rather overcooked, though, and the lowlight of the meal. It would be good to ask your waiter for a gap between finishing your self-served starters and bringing out the main course to really enjoy a bubble-filled hiatus and change gear for the lunch-focussed main courses. And then again before dessert, if you can.
Caramel explosion chocolate cake, Eton mess, lemon meringue pie and banana cake were the four on offer at the grocery stand. We tried them all, as why not? The puddings were sweet and pretty good. If you are thinking of brunching with children, this might be the place. Helping yourself to all the desserts you like is an exciting appeal for kids. As they go to town on the sweets, grown ups can enjoy extra time with the prosecco and Peroni free flowing. Or, come for a hangover brunch with pals to recharge from a big Saturday. Feast on fresh food, where there’s more than enough on offer with zero effort to put in, and top up with lager or prosecco to get your weekend back on track.
Three-course Food Store feast – £25 per person.
Three-course Food Store feast with free-flowing prosecco or Peroni – £45 per person.
Food Store at Lincoln Plaza London
2 Lincoln Plaza