Anglo in Clerkenwell: Mark Jarvis’s restaurant is still one of London’s culinary gems
For someone who loves restaurants, it’s really disappointing when a chef doesn’t maintain the standard of their food over time. And in a city like London, where you don’t get to go back to the same spot over and over again – there are too many new ones you want to try – restaurateurs hardly get a second chance. It happened to me not long ago with the Laughing Heart and I don’t see why I should go back any time soon.
Anglo, on the other hand, is still as exciting as it was when it opened three years ago. Its sophisticated hipster look, from the wood-and-metal chairs to the concrete floor and essential Parisian neo-bistro decor, is a perfect backdrop to the exquisite, contemporary dishes of chef Mark Jarvis.
The set dinner menu is priced at £55, and with six plates and a selection of snacks and bread and butter, it’s an impressive deal. The Parfait Cone with Cranberry and Walnut and the Artichoke Cracker with Coffee and Parmesan are an enticing start, part of a trio of amuse-bouches that culminates with the Rye Taco with Lamb and Kimchi.
More often than not, the playfulness of the food declines course by course. The customary hand-dive scallop – pick three random restaurants serving good food and there will be one on the menu – a supplementary dish at just £4.50, keeps things entertaining with ponzu and roe emulsion; the creativity on the plate progresses with the Jersey Royal with Smoked Salmon, thanks to a mouthwatering lemon sabayon which combines every ingredient.
Jarvis’s technique and his drive for sourcing prime ingredients shines through the Lavinton Lamb with Asparagus and Lovage (also a supplement) and the Sea Bream with Leek and Wild Garlic. The lamb might not be conceptually groundbreaking but it’s wonderfully juicy and it goes incredibly well with the Californian cabernet sauvignon by Foxglove that it is paired with. The same could be said of the impeccable sea bream / white bordeaux (50/50 sauvignon and sémillon) by Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours pairing.
The only thing that doesn’t work 100% for us tonight is the amount of food: going for both the supplements makes it hard to enjoy the last dishes – Tamworth Pork with Peas and Whey and Cheese and Onion on Malt Loaf – as they are both on the heavy side.
The full meal can feel a little cumbersome because there are also two desserts: first a palate cleanser made from blood orange, and then a mouth-filling tiramisu with chocolate and lime. Once again the sommelier confirms her understanding of each dish by proposing a pairing with the mineral sweet wine Maury Vintage Blanc from Domaine Mas Amiel.
Three years since its opening, Anglo is still a serious player in the London food scene. It represents the direction in which the city seemed to be going not too long ago when the Clove Club was still an affordable restaurant, Dabbous a neighbourhood bistro and Pidgin unexpectedly (and undeservedly, in my opinion) won a michelin star. Genuinely great food at a reasonable price, let’s hope it stays like this.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at Anglo, 30 St Cross Street EC1N 8UH London, call 020 7430 1503 or visit their website here.