Boisdale is to other Canary Wharf restaurants what JPMorgan is to SocGen. The Scottish restaurant behemoth is both one of the most majestic and most boozy of all E14 watering holes.
As such, it’s a City boy’s Thursday night haven. Not only are the waitresses in tartan miniskirts, there’s a terrace overlooking pimp Cabot Square. At barely 6.30pm, it’s so packed IT guy and I have to elbow our way to our seat – one of the best in the house apparently, overlooking the static fountain (even drought has affected Canary Wharf) but with a prime view at the stage. Boisdale is fast becoming the City’s premium jazz venue, with the restaurant claiming Jools Holland among its past entertainers.
Food is typically Scottish – clumps of smoked salmon gravadlax, langoustines with ‘all their guts’, and fine fillet steak, ‘the best I’ve ever had outside Argentina’ declared IT guy. Needless to say, oysters and caviar also make up the firmly City menu.
After a cocktail to start (a spicy, spicy Bloody Mary, since you ask) and half a bottle of Boisdale’s finest Rioja, IT guy and I tipsily fell into our usual argument: who is smarter than the other. ‘I did a degree in economics,’ he counters. ‘I got better A Level results,’ I drunkenly argue back. ‘Well, you can’t speak French.’ ‘And you’re shit at Spanish,’ I finish, slopping my wine down my dress. (Don’t worry, this is just how our evenings go. We’d made up by the time by the desserts turned up: a gelatinous sticky toffee pudding and spiced apple and rhubarb crumble with thick custard. His gaping maw was soon glued shut.)
My roll of booze fat was quite literally spilling over my waistband at this point, and the fibres of IT guy’s Ted Baker suit started to look dangerously thin stretched over his usually non-existent paunch. Time for Boisdale’s pièce de la résistance: the largest whisky selection in London. There’s 500 varieties of Scottish whisky alone, with more from Japan, Wales and America, enough to slay a suit in just a sip.
So there you have it. Boisdale will seduce you, intoxicate you and stuff you until you’re reeling off your GCSE grade in food technology at anybody who’ll listen. Now run there as quickly as possible for the jazz, the whisky and the impeccable service: you have been warned.