Angler in the City: Sophisticated food where London favours big spenders over good palates
It’s so easy to spend money in the City. There are offices, restaurants and bars. The average income is way higher than anywhere else in London and after 6pm drinks and food are literally the only way to spend money – and disconnect. What is not equally easy is finding good food, especially good food that is not a steak.
Angler sits at the top of South Place Hotel. From the 7th floor, it is high enough to make it feel exclusive. You can even see people still at their desks in the neighbouring buildings eating sad takeaway meals, and appreciate your comfort even more.
Chef Gary Foulkes, a former right-hand man of Philip Howard, has conceived a seafood-focused menu, without making it solely a fish restaurant. The dining room is structured lengthways, along ceiling-high windows. The atmosphere is very “top City restaurant”, like the Gherkin’s or Tower 42’s – without the breathtaking view.
We begin our dinner with a series of mouthwatering snacks, in particular the cuttlefish black pudding. The Cornish Mackerel Tartare builds on a balance between the sapidity of the oyster cream, the acidity of the apple and herbaceous hints from the shiso. The tiny wasabi pearls deliver a Japanese twist. Despite the declared seafood focus, we dig into a beautiful Roast Veal Sweetbread, which hits all the right notes: cauliflower, black truffle and caramelised yeast. And if your pocket is deep enough, now that it’s in-season, they also offer hand-rolled spaghetti with 36-month-aged parmesan and white truffle (the real truffle).
The Wild Turbot, with Japanese mushrooms and katsuobushi broth, is an umami celebration – but subtle, sophisticated. Wine-wise, it broadens the range of possible pairings, with a light red and a structured white equally suitable. I pick a pinot noir from California (Moobuzz 2015), which also holds up the richness of the Aynhoe Park Venison. Served with wild ceps, stuffed truffle potato and its roasting juices, this game meat shows that the chef’s breadth is far from confined to seafood.
After a pre-dessert that is, actually, a dessert, we have a PBC – their signature peanut, banana and chocolate pudding – and the passion fruit tart with banana cream, kaffir lime and chocolate. I have to admit the combinations of flavours of the puds on the menu do not exactly correspond to my taste, but those we try are good enough to please me. Finally, chocolate comes in the form of petits fours.
Foulkes’s cuisine is complex and uses prime produce; the wine list offers a vast selection by the glass, which is not so common (I’ve counted eight sparklings, ten whites and six reds); and the waiting staff never misses a beat. Angler truly offers a Michelin-starred experience in an elegant, smart environment.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at Angler, 3 South Place London EC2M 2AF, call 020 3215 1260 or visit their website here.