THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: The Parlour’s Peroni Bar pop-up, Canary Wharf

Before last week, I would not have said Canary Wharf was a staple destination in TMM’s London repertoire. Well from now on if I find myself out that far East this summer I know where I’ll be visiting.

The Parlour‘s popup Peroni bar has more going for it than plosive alliteration. It occupies a corner of Canada Square, which represents a pocket of comfort and relaxation in a slightly stiff part of London often dominated by multinationals and boxy suits. More than the location, this summer the outdoor bar is offering a series of beer-based cocktails, offering lighter and easier-drinking summer alternatives to more traditional spirit-heavy tipples.

The Italian Bramble (lemon, gin, Peroni and Crème de Mure liqueur with blackberries) is simple and refreshing, with enough citrus kick and berry sweetness to taste indisputably of an English summer with an Italian twist. The Italian Spritz (Peroni, elderflower and Sauvignon Blanc, garnished with cucumber, citrus peel and rosemary) brought the traditional wine cooler slap bang up to date and added more complex hoppy notes to what can so often be an underwhelming beverage. For those of you more adventurous (or to be precise, exactly as adventurous as TMM), there is the Bullet Dodger which utilises a chilli-infused bourbon to spice up the house Mint Julep. Fiery it ain’t, but the drink comes in the  impressive signature Julep cup.

One has the option of accompanying your drinks at The Parlour with nibbles and larger bites – TMM indulged in the smaller plates, the highlights of which were the rustic mozzarella and rocket flatbread, and an altogether pleasing deep-fried panko prawn lollipop with sweet chilli and soy dipping sauce.

A thoroughly pleasant evening was had, therefore, and if you happen to be in the neighbourhood in the coming months, TMM heartily recommends that you do just the same.

More information on The Parlour here.

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, James Bomford.

Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf

At the weekends, Canary Wharf is a very different place. Gone are the bankers and their briefcases, instead a strange ghostly silence falls over this financial district. One place, however, is still very much alive and ready to give you an unforgettable weekend.

It was pouring with rain when we approached the grand Four Seasons Hotel. All I wanted was a warm place to relax and a glass of fizz in my hand. Thankfully this hotel provided both within moments of stepping inside.

A speedy check-in meant we were inside our executive suite without delay, admiring London’s overcast but enchanting skyline and enjoying the comforts of our Four Seasons bedroom.

Luxury is evident in every detail. Executive category rooms are spacious corner suites with striking riverfront views of the Thames. At 56 square metres, they offer the privacy of a separate living room for entertaining or meetings, with plenty of space for relaxing too. Our bedroom was particularly impressive, an inviting king size bed, numerous plush pillows and an epic flatscreen TV. An adjoining full limestone bathroom featured a big bath, separate power shower and (L’Occitane) toiletries. As a taster before our Italian cooking class, Head Chef (Moreno) had left Mediterranean tasters and gifts in our living room. The bruschetta and breadsticks wrapped in Italian ham were particularly appetising, a hint of what was to come with our pasta cooking course and our delicious meal at the hotel’s Quadrato Restaurant.

Guests of Four Seasons Canary Wharf can enjoy a variety of top-notch extracurricular activities including free access to the high tech Virgin Active gym (complete with impressive indoor infinity pool leading out to the Thames), a lovely piano lounge with live sport for the men and cocktail lists for the girls, not to mention a calming, petite spa for the ultimate relaxation. We were lucky enough to experience a couple’s massage – a pleasant start to our Sunday morning. With the sun rising over London, the views from here were even better. Using aromatic essential oils, two therapists gently and effectively kneaded away all tension in our backs. The treatments here are revitalising and stress relieving – ideal as an energising wake up in the morning, or to help you wind down after a busy day.

Breakfast is an array of foodie delights, continental or full English, whatever you feel like. I particularly enjoyed the do-it-yourself juicer which enables you to create your very own exotic drink. I can also highly recommend the delicious french toast and pancakes from the a la carte menu.

We were sad to wave goodbye to Canary Wharf, jumping on the conveniently located, charming clipper boat back to central London. I’ve always thought of this area of London as a suits only professional playground, but the Four Seasons Canary Wharf proves itself a luxury hotel for both business and pleasure.

More information and book here:

Four Seasons Canary Wharf, Italian Cookery Classes with chef Moreno Casaccia

Ravioli is one of my favourite things to eat so I was delighted to discover that the Four Seasons Canary Wharf chef, Moreno Casaccia would be teaching us how to make this delicious pasta.

Moreno has an impressive culinary background and has been instrumental to the operation of the Hotel, where he started his Four Seasons career in November 2005 as a Chef de Partie. Since then he has held the positions of Junior Sous Chef, Sous Chef and Executive Sous Chef. He was named Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel last year. Prior to joining Four Seasons, Moreno gained extensive experience while working in a variety of top-end establishments including The Dorchester in London and the one Michelin-starred Le Moulin, and three Michelin-starred Taillevent, in France.

Pasta is a staple part of most people’s diet, though many have not tried homemade pasta, which in my opinion is infinitely tastier than the shop bought variety. It is also a lot more time-consuming and challenging than emptying a plastic bag of dry pasta into a pan of water.

With Moreno we learnt the recipe for fresh pasta and helped him create a delicious dish inspired by his mother’s cooking: Ravioli filled with potatoes and herbs with “cacciatora” sauce. He was kind and enthusiastic, displaying his creative flair in the kitchen whilst also teaching us some crucial Italian culinary basics.

I highly recommend the cooking classes at Four Seasons Canary Wharf, and perhaps trying this delicious dish at home:

Ravioli filled with potatoes and herbs, “cacciatora” sauce

Ingredients for 4 people
For the filling:
200 gr King Edward potatoes
20 gr of salmoriglio oil
50 gr of double cream
30 gr of parmesan
Salt and pepper
For the pasta dough:
700 gr flour
300 ge semolina flour
6 eggs
12 egg yolk
For the cacciatora sauce:
500 gr tinned tomatoes blended
100 gr celery
100 gr carrots
100 gr onions
100 gr extra virgin olive oil
50 gr pitted taggiasca olives
500 gr diced chicken legs
300 gr white wine
300 gr remouillage
3 gr rosemary
3 gr sage
Salt and pepper

For the filling:
Boil the potatoes, peel and mash them, Add salmoriglio oil, parmesan and double cream, adjust with salt and pepper
For the pasta dough:
Make the pasta dough in the traditional way by mixing all the ingredients and resting for at least four hours.
For the cacciatora sauce:
Trim celery, carrots and onion, peel the garlic and cut it on half, cut the vegetables in small dice
On a medium sauce pan, reheat the oil, sauté all the vegetables with the garlic and the bouquet garni (rosemary and sage).
In a separate saucepan, sauté the diced chicken leg meat until golden, add to the vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes.
Then stir in the white wine, leave to reduce and add the tomato, remouillage and chopper taggiasca olives.
Prepare the ravioli, making sure the pasta is as thin as possible, blanch them in salty boiling water, drain and sauté with the sauce, add parmesan, freshly chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper.

More information here: