Our guide to the best places to eat during office hours in the City and Canary Wharf
WHAT? Sophisticated tapas in a sparse, rustic setting. Think massive contemporary light fixtures and hunks of meat served on chopping boards.
WHERE? A vast industrial space just off Cabot Square in Canary Wharf. It has a bar, too, and a delicatessen called Jamon Iberico. It’s one of six Ibericas – five in London, one in Manchester.
WHO? Michelin-starred chef Nacho Manzano, who’s known for his fish dishes in particular and travels the world promoting the cuisine of northern Spain. Manzano has also brought Cesar Garcia, who has worked with him in his restaurants in Spain, to be group head chef and the pair work together on an “ever-evolving” menu.
ORDER THIS... You can’t come to a restaurant called Iberica and not order ham. Skip the cold cuts, though, and head straight for the grilled iberico pork, charred and salty, served with baked aubergine. Or opt for an iberico slider, topped with a tangy piparra pepper. For a lighter lunch, the mackerel with orange and saffron escabeche is as delicate as sashimi and the salmorejo (a thick gazpacho) is worth a taste, too.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? Small sharing dishes are perfect for business bonding; not too heavy and perfect conversation pieces. For more privacy and space, ask for a booth to juggle all the dishes and paperwork.
NEED TO BOOK? Lunch gets busy, as you would expect in Canary Wharf, but this warehouse-sized restaurant has ample space to deal with walk-ins.
THE VERDICT? A gastronomic approach to tapas that reaches beyond your usual patatas bravas. The flavours are bold, the portion sizes are generous and the wine cellar is pretty decent, too. And there’s plenty to enjoy here if you do want to play it safe, with larger dishes, shareable paellas and firm favourites like serrano ham croquettes, which in this case are deep-friend parcels of joy, oozing hot gooey cheese.
ONE MORE THING... If the weather’s nice, visit Iberica La Terraza, a much smaller cafe-style affair tucked into a leafy corner of Cabot Square. It’s a great spot to enjoy the sunshine and the fountains with a jug of Sangria, tapas and pinchos, a sort of open sandwich where toppings are pinned to a slice of bread.
DETAILS: 12 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf. Open from 11.30am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and from 12pm to 4pm on Sundays. For bookings, visit ibericarestaurants.com or call 020 7636 8650.