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Review

Beluga Café

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Port East Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14
Tel: 020 7537 4665
Cost: £25 per person and on up

Champagne and seafood bars have a very useful role to fulfil in the role call of life’s eating out occasions. A spontaneous celebration, a quick pick me up of fizz and protein, an extravagance for Friday lunch, the start of a longer evening out – basically whenever you would feel the need for a glass of champagne and, as Lilly Bollinger famously pointed out, this can be just about any time. So it is surprising that Beluga Café is the first of its kind around Canary Wharf. This is also a first for rookie restaurateur, Cheryl Sussams, brought up in her parents' pub on Brick Lane and the easy informality of a pub works quite well here.

Port East Warehouse is quite characterful and – if there ever is good weather again – Beluga Café will provide a good place for sitting out and engaging in a bit of conspicuous consumption. It is also quite pleasant to sit inside, soaking up the luminosity of aquarium acquamarine and white (very similar to Tiffany’s trademark colours, as a friend usefully pointed out). House champagnes are well chosen, especially the Lawrence Duvivier, crisp and dry but toasty and good value at £25.95. The usual suspects are also represented (Cliquot, Tattinger, Bollinger, etc.) and fairly priced.

The food offering is straightforward. Beluga (natch), sevruga and oscietra are seasonally priced, served with the full roster of blinis, chopped egg and so on. There is good smoked salmon, Irish rock and native oysters, (very large) king prawns, crab, lobster and a seafood platter with a bit of everything. There are also salads, soups and bagels to make the menu lunchtime friendly. Staff are attentive, engagingly eager but relaxed and make the place work.