California's Gold Rush inspired hordes of odds-defying lunatics to strike out to enrich themselves, while its "Hotel Rush" inspired hordes of taste-defying lunatics to strike out to enrich The Eagles. In a more welcome development, the Golden State's inspired a man to expand his resto empire, with Rocket Canary Wharf, open today
The third space from a bar veteran grown enamored of laid-back Cali pizza/salad joints during a year-long Stateside sabbatical, this boozy, two-story eatery has a light, wide-open feel, with modern-chic steel fittings and wood floors; upstairs has a Millennium-Dome viewing terrace, and a colonnade of National Gallery prints adorning the ceiling, allowing you to gaze at a Bellini even as you gulp one.
As with the other Rockets, the huge-portioned menu rests on meaty Cali-style salads (despite toppings like rocket, deep-fried green beans, crispy garlic, and fried chili, the Rare Beef and Chip is described as "a steak with a lettuce leaf on top") and imaginative pizzas like a brand-new number with smoked black pudding, butterfly king prawns, pancetta and green chilli; unique to this location are a prosciutto/dolcelatte cheese/pear/walnut sandwich, and mains like tahini/lemon'd corn-fed chicken served with a Greek salad, which given the economic climate, should technically be free.
Meanwhile, the downstairs bar carries such braincell nurturers as the "Ginger Ninja" (ginger vodka, Cointreau, cranberry), the "Aloha Treacle" (Sailor Jerry, brown sugar, apple juice stirred slowly for 5-8 minutes), and the mojito-like "Optimus Prime", which ironically will decepticon you into thinking you're handsome, then run you over like a lorry
For the sophisticated Rocketeer there's vino goodness including a Falasco Super Corvina Cantina Valpantena, a Skillogalee Shiraz, and a J.Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon dubbed "Seven Oaks" -- which defies the odds by hailing from California, and not the banks of the M25.