The Anthologist launches a new summer menu
As we came to review the launch of The Anthologist’s new summer menu, something rather amusing struck us. In a cavernous room full of diners and drinkers, not a single one was wearing anything other than a shirt or a cocktail dress. Granted this is The City after all, the home of the elite and the heart of the capital’s business empire, but the The Anthologist treats that kind of stereotype with irreverence. It’s curious to see a place that initially seems to clash so fiercely with its clientele, who would have looked much more at home amongst the brushed steel and masculine architecture favoured by so many bars in the area. The numerous floral displays seemed to make a mockery of the macho men in suits that sternly sipped beer beside them and the entire decor is overflowing with these twee little touches.
That same style carries over into the food. We started with a ceviche of salmon with a light salad, served in inside a jam jar. Beside it sat a plate, and a bottle of lemon dressing. As our helpful waitress informed us, you simple poured the juice into the bottle, shook it and voila: a fresh dressed salad. It was a novel idea, and the flavours were executed immaculately. A Salad of Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta read well and was generally excellent, save for a handful of cherry tomatoes. What they were doing in there is anyone’s guess, but their presence clashed nastily with the sweetness of the watermelon. We picked them out and the dish was much improved: a refreshing start to a summer treat.
Before the rest of our dinner arrived, an impressive cocktail menu was handed around, containing what looked like a number of surefire winners. A beautiful mojito with hints of rose set the bar high, but the rest were hit and miss. A grape and pear concoction was the low point, tasting like what can only be described as a mix of jif lemon and sugar, which just doesn’t work without the pancake. A peach and vodka combination sounded, and smelt, far more delicious than the oddly flat drink that turned up at our table. The others, one centred around blueberries the other blackberries, were good but not excellent.
Luckily, the quality picked up again for the mains, which were served with a healthy dose of theatrics. A rack of ribs came with a brush and a pot of sauce so you could glaze them yourself, a nice touch given that the dish was ideal for sharing. Chicken in a Basket was literally just that: a roast chicken served in a picnic basket. Moist and tender, it was accompanied by aioli and chips cooked to a crispy, golden perfection. It was the perfect summary of the food here: uncomplicated dishes with serious flavour and a little bit of a twist. Desserts followed the same pattern: the Lemon Syllabub was pleasantly tart and creamy, whilst the ice cream parfait was rich and moreish.
Earlier we had wondered why so many of the business crowd throng to this place night after night. As the evening wore on, the answer slowly became clear. With it’s simple but well executed food, soft lighting and gentle atmosphere, it’s a perfect escape from city stress.
The Anthologist is located at: 58 Gresham St, London EC2V 7BB, for further information visit here.