Long gone are the days of limp leafy greens and questionable overcooked grains, veganism is on a wild revolution of its own, with restaurants across the city (and world!) jumping on the bandwagon, illuminating how popular the plant-based way of living actually is. One restaurant that’s on its own plant-based mission is Bōkan 37, proving vegan fare can be darn good!
From the outside you could mistakingly walk past the entrance of Bōkan without realising what wonderfulness lies inside. But, nuzzled sky-high inside, with breathtaking 360 degree views across London’s iconic skyline, Bōkan is one of London’s top destinations for wining and dining. Prepare yourself for some subtle ear popping as you whizz on up to the 38th floor to Bōkan’s restaurant, bar and terrace. Towering over Canary Wharf and London’s sauntering skyline, the major selling point of Bōkan is, of course, the dreamy rooftop terrace hidden on the 39th floor. Home to cosy daybeds, live jazz music on Sundays and unmissable views, it’s hardly surprising it’s a hideout with all the highflying business types during the week.
Down another level, on the 38th floor, you’ll find Bōkan’s bar, championing local distillers, craft beers and unbeatable cocktails. Position yourself next to the window, cocktail in tow, and you’ve got yourself the perfect night ahead. And, ladies, let us tell you if you’re looking to powder your nose in style, saunter over the bathroom and prepare to be wowed away by the sky-high views (definitely worth a sneaky selfie in the floor to ceiling mirrors!).
Venture on down to the 37th floor (there’s not as much walking as you’re imagining in your head we promise) and you’ll find yourself engulfed by its beauty. After a busy commute from one stretch of the city to the next, we settled in for an evening of vegan wining and dining on Bōkan’s vegan tasting menu. As far as interiors go, the restaurant is brimming with autumnal hues, from the copper-style industrial lighting adorning the ceiling, to the animal fur-style banquette seating. The views, of course, were the real captivating feature, and we even saw a few fireworks whizzing off into the distance. If you’re looking to woo on a first date, this might just be the spot for you.
Settled into our seats and admiring the spectacular city views, we opted for a bottle of Le Bosq, a beautiful silky smooth white that was so light, refreshing and started the night off without much fault. Our table was soon adorn with stacks of warm breads, olive oil and balsamic to dip, and an amuse bouche, a spoonful of citrus delight that cleansed or palettes.
We know what you’re thinking. We said there wouldn’t be any salads creeping onto the menu, but hear us out! When you’re presented with a rainbow radish starter that looks somewhat like a floral English garden, you’ll understand. Yes, we were technically nibbling our way through a plate full of florals but this dish was so delightful we were honestly a little sad to pick apart the scene. Served alongside a zingy yuzu sorbet and macadamia pesto, the flavour and artistry of the dish was truly incredible.
The menu highlight of the night was an English sweetcorn and saffron veloute with crispy polenta. This might sound very ‘first world problems’ but we’re somewhat of a polenta expert but this little cube of crispness delivered on all the right levels. Paired alongside smoky barbecued sweetcorn veloute, clove jelly and puffed up corn, it was a weird but wholesomely wonderful sensory mix of flavour combos and textures.
Roll on October and November when this seasonal squash crawls its way into every menu, it was only a matter of time before we faced the pumpkin main. And, although neither of us usually willingly devour a plate of the stuff, we both gobbled up the homemade Delica pumpkin tagliolini with ginger tuile and pumpkin seed purée. But if any restaurant was going to make me enjoy the stuff, it was going to be Bōkan and the steady flow of wine…
Lovers of chocolate can happily sink their teeth into the dessert of poached English pears, rich choco sauce, crushed almonds and pear sorbet. The standout flavour, much to our surprise, was the sorbet. Its texture was so close to ice cream it would have any non-vegan fooled.
With so many places focused on getting meat and fish dishes right, it can be rare to find places that do vegetables right, but Bōkan delivered on multiple levels. The flavours presented are no ordinary thing; they’ve been thoughtfully hand-and the clever plating of the food was all part of the great dining experience. If you’re herbivore, or even if you’re a keen meat-eater, you should head to Bōkan for a spectacular night-time view and some great food.
Celebrate World Vegan Month the right way with Bōkan 37’s delectable five-course vegan chef’s tasting menu, running throughout November, at Floor 37-39, 40 Marsh Wall, Canary Wharf, E14 9TP, www.bokanlondon.com