Make It EASY On Yourself | Big Easy Canary Wharf, Upper Level 1, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf London E14 5AR
Crossrail Place has become our second home of late. We’ve been working our way along the ground floor, visiting the likes of Sticks’n’Sushi and Chai Ki – not forgetting a sneaky coffee at Notes. We’ve yet to make it to Ippudo or The Breakfast Club (although we’ve been to their Liverpool Street and Southwark branches.) The actual building is huge, resembling a futuristic interstellar liner or as my daughter put it ‘an upside-down ship wrapped in a silver padded jacket.’ I can see what she means.
Connected to One Canada Square by a space-age walkway, accessibility is good (will obviously be better when Crossrail is actually running). There’s plenty of car parking too, but it’s not cheap. Top tip – you can get three hours of free parking when you spend £10 in Waitrose.
Anyway, the reason we visited this time was take a look at the Big Easy‘s newest location. Their third restaurant takes up a huge chunk of the top floor of Crossrail Place (the rooftop garden is well worth a little wander around too, especially in the summer.)
Not that we need an excuse to unleash our inner greedy at Big Easy, we’ve been numerous times, ever since I tried the voodoo wings at their original and, in our opinion, best venue on the King’s Road. I’m addicted to these little beauties – as soon as I catch a whiff of their cayenne pepper hot sauce my taste buds go into meltdown.
I’m not sure if this site is bigger than the one in Covent Garden. It’s hard to tell, as their top floor position, overlooking the old Docklands waterways, gives a real feeling of space. As does the clever way they’ve divided up the restaurant in to different zones.
Decor is less industrial than at the Covent Garden too, it’s more nautical – getting back to crab shack roots. There are thick ropes, old barrels, sack-cloth and heavy iron work. Lighting is low and varied, loved the miners’ lamps best. The whole place looks like a cross between the set of Pirates of the Caribbean and the haunted mine shafts in Scooby Doo.
Continuing this theme is the Captain’s table – a 26 seat private dining area. The room has an 8 metre long solid oak dining table, 17th century style oak chairs, vintage chandeliers, (more) oak panelling and display cabinets (probably oak) showing vintage rums and spirits.
Talking of alcohol, the big easy has really pushed the boat out with its bars and drinking areas, they really want those bankers in to either drown their sorrows or celebrate those bonuses. Their Beer & Whiskey Bar serves up 14 different beers on tap (including their own Big Easy Brew). There is also a substantial range of bottled beers from around the world plus seasonal guest brews – just in case you get bored of all the usual offerings.
For whisky lovers, how about 300 plus different types of domestic and imported varieties including dating back to the 1800s (go on city boys, splash the cash). Don’t forget the 200 strong selection of other fine liquors. As if that wasn’t enough, The big easy has a Rum Bar & Lounge with live music every night, casks of rum on tap and over 100 bottled rums – hic!
Of course they have a suitably large cocktail and wine list too. The bar opens at 7am, yes, 7am, this isn’t a typo. So if you fancy a large Johnnie Walker Blue Label with your breakfast, you know where to come! Plus they have twice daily happy hours, 7am – 10am and 4pm to 6pm weekdays and 9am – noon and 4pm to 6pm weekends. Happy hour? Should be called ecstatic hour!
We are only going to skim over what we actually ate. This review is more about the new(ish) venue, if you want to read more about our previous meals please click here or here. As always we started with a couple of cocktails, an Old Fashioned (£8) for me – a proper man’s drink to go with all that meat, maybe a little sweet but they do love their in-house smoked maple syrup.
Saff played it simple and ordered a Pineapple Boozy Juice (£6.50). The fruit is freshly pressed at the bar and mixed with Appleton VX Dark Rum. Although we did receive an apple version with Jack Daniels No 7 by mistake – hey, what’s a misheard ‘pine’ between friends?
No surprises that I had the Original Voodoo Chicken Wings (£8.90), served with a portion of blue cheese dipping sauce that I swear is shrinking every time I have it. Saff ordered some Popcorn Shrimp (£7.90) – bite-sized, deep-fried, deep south tasty little morsels.
Saff returned to her old favourite for her main course. The magnificent Taste-O-Rama! (£19.90) – a huge tray of pit-smoked BBQ chicken, dry-rubbed StLouis pork ribs, Carolina pulled pork, pit-smoked BBQ Beans and house slaw. If that wasn’t enough, she added some Texas brisket (£4) and a super sweet cake-like Cornbread muffin (£2.90). Leftovers weren’t wasted, we made a hash with them the following day.
In comparison I was rather restrained. My Bar.B.Q Brisket Sandwich (£12.50) was, as Goldilocks puts it, ‘just right’. Premium slow smoked beef, lightly brushed with BBQ sauce and topped with sweet pickle.
Although I was tempted to give the Lobster Fest a go – £20 for either a whole fresh lobster, whole lobster roll or whole lobster mac ‘n’ cheese. All served with fries, house salad AND a free slushie cocktail or craft lager or ale. Such better value than what Burger & Lobster offers (and they have a kids menu here too.)
As we’re on the subject of value, for a mere £1.40 more than the measly portions-in-a-paper-cup desserts that were plonked in front of us at B&L, at the Big Easy you get amazing belly busting portions. Saff’s eyes lit up when she saw her huge slice of Banana Cream Pie (£5.90).
Since trying one at Philippe The Original in LA, Saff’s been in love with cream pies and this massive wedge of banana heaven along with a Traders Spice (£7.50) dessert cocktail, kept her quiet for at least 15 minutes! I nearly ordered her another one just for a little peace. [Wow! Charming! – Saff]
Now, my Iron Skillet Smores Fondue (£5.90) should win the ‘messiest dessert ever’ award. Even our brilliant waitress (Lexi or Lesley, she said her name soooo fast) had to stop and stare as I wrestled with layering the gooey marshmallows and rich molten chocolate sauce between the Graham crackers. These s’mores were as filling as they were messy, easily enough for two to share.
That was that, no more room, not even for a coffee. But as we waddled out past the open kitchen like a couple of pregnant ducks, I caught sight of another portion of Voodoo Wings. I was so tempted to waddle back to table and start all over again. Told you I was an addict.
Upper Level 1, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf
London E14 5AR
Telephone: 0203 841 8844
Breakfast: Mon – Fri 7am – 11:30am
Weekend Brunch 9am – 5pm
Lunch & Dinner: Mon – Fri 11:30am – midnight
Sunday 11:30am – 11pm
Full Afternoon Tea: Everyday 3pm – 5pm
Take out: Mon – Fri 7am – 5pm
Book a table online
Nearest station: Canary Wharf DLR (5 mins walk), West India Quay DLR (7 mins walk) Canary Wharf (8 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Big Easy, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.