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After losing chef Michael Riemenschneider mere months after opening, Canvas sails on under the guidance of ex-Mugaritz chef Ruben Aguilar Bel. Riemenschneider’s divisive build-your-own tasting menu has gone with him, replaced by a standard à la carte that showcases Aguilar Bel’s Michelin background: think fleshy chunks of lobster claw and tail with a verdant broccoli purée and dashi consommé, or crispy-skin cod with sweet red-pepper cream and Jerusalem artichokes. For dessert, go seasonal with the likes of poached rhubarb with vanilla crumble and a whipped dollop of buttermilk. Action takes place in a high-ceilinged, white-columned basement venue that can feel staid when not fully populated, although an occasionally lively bar helps whip up an atmosphere thanks to a talented mixologist. Offset the high prices by making the most of some good wine choices under £35.
As soon as we stepped through the automatic sliding doors of Canvas and were guided down the stairs into the dark den of a dining room to our table, my heart sank a little. My first impressions were not good but a certain someone was positively dismissive. White on white on white- tick. Eerie background music usually reserved for tacky beauty salons who think it’s relaxing- tick. Flat as a pancake atmosphere- tick. This is the kind of place the working class man dislikes, avoids, basically tries to escape through the back door from but of course, we stayed and you know what? He was pleased we did. A certain someone...
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