Often, it’s the cheap ‘n’ cheerful eats that serve up the best foods – the hawkers stalls of Singapore, the beach huts of Goa, pizzas by the slice in New York City. And it’s no different here, in a little corner of the Docklands, no more than 5 minutes from swanky Canary Wharf by the little DLR station of Cross Harbour.
I had no idea this world existed, the Canary Wharf area seeming one homogenised land of shiny skyscrapers and black-clad businessmen and women striding about, noses stuck in the FT. But this little piece of harbourside, so near and yet so totally different is a charming neighbourhood of calm and relaxation. And here lies the Lotus Floating Chinese restaurant, floating as the name suggests, in the Millwall dock.
We’re here today with Lady Loves Cake, Mr Man and Baby Loves Cake and they have very sensibly called ahead and booked us a table by the water. We’re pretty eager though as we’ve arrived just as it opens so securing the prime spot wasn’t an issue, but just a short time later, as we go to leave, the place is packed.
We know exactly what we want and we tuck into a wide spread. The char siu pau (BBQ Pork Buns) are utterly fantastic, it has been so long since I had a quality dose of these – Dragon Castle, while fantastic in all other respects, cannot get the bun right. The dumplings come in paper thin wrappings with succulent juicy fillings and the stir-fried vegetables are just the right side of garlicky.
The hot Chinese tea is filled up constantly and even as our plates empty, we stay drinking tea and chatting, they seem in no mood to turf us out into the cold, and so for a while, this warm cosy buzzing place keeps us content.
It’s a place you bring your whole family and catch up over good food, plenty of hot tea and watch the sun dance on the water outside. Or given current climes, where you watch rain lash against the windows and you nestle into your seat even more.
All for the low low price of £10 a head, and we certainly packed away a fair amount.