Features Reporter Rebecca Wilcock swaps her passport for a plate when she samples the flavours of Italy at Brera Riverside in Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf is not somewhere you’d usually associate with northern Italy, but just off Westferry Circus you’ll find a little slice of it at Brera Riverside.
Traditionally decorated, we were greeted by a mouth-watering cold counter of meats and cheeses – followed by a friendly Italian waiter who knew exactly where every morsel of food had come from.
Classically Italian, the menu starts with Chicchetti (small snacks), then antipasti, pasta course, main course and dessert. But you can pick and choose whatever you fancy.
We were automatically brought a bread plate to start, which had the best pesto I have ever tasted – accompanied by traditional breadsticks, rosemary focaccia, sourdough slices and pizza dough crisps.
Being an Italian deli, we absolutely had to try the Antipasti di Montagna – a sharing plate so delicious and so generous that we had to take some home.
Highlights included the aged pecorino, Coppa di Parma, and intriguing Modena mustard fruits (which had the look and texture of a glacé cherry, but tasted like mustard).
Full of bread, meats and cheese, we skipped the pasta course and went straight on to main, which didn’t disappoint.
The succulent herb-crusted belly pork was wrapped in crispy crackling and bursting with flavour. Underneath was a smooth and sweet pumpkin purée and the friarielli (sautéed turnip leaves) side dish cut through with a bite of bitterness.
My dining companion had the corn-fed chicken, which was coated in a light and crispy parmesan and rosemary crust.
On the side we had rosemary and garlic roast potatoes –chunky skin-on wedges that were soft and buttery. Tying it all together was a deep chicken jus that we couldn’t get enough of.
As much as I wanted dessert, I was full to bursting – as is the Italian way – and all we could manage was an espresso. 100% Arabica, the manager proudly told us, with a fruity taste and perfect crema.
The Wordrobe Verdict
As soon as we’d left the restaurant (with our antipasti leftovers carefully packaged up), we were planning when we could go back.
The food and atmosphere were so authentic and the staff so lovely, that it genuinely felt as though we had travelled to Italy instead of East London. Truth be told, I can’t recommend highly enough.
Make it happen
Where: 31 Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, London E14 8RR
Bookings: To make a reservation, please phone 020 3828 0653 or click here.
Words by Rebecca Wilcock