On the seventh floor of the smart South Place Hotel near Moorgate tube station is Angler, a seafood restaurant that has held a Michelin star ever since 2013. Since April 2016 the kitchen has been headed by Gary Foulkes, a former head chef of The Square who has had a career that involved working for years with the late Gary Rhodes, as well as with William Drabble and John Campbell. The long L-shaped dining room has picture windows looking out over the city nearby, and can seat around sixty diners at capacity. There is a full a la carte selection, but today we went with a tasting menu at £100 per person. There was also a set three course menu for £40 available. See my previous review for a discussion of the wine list.
Three canapes appeared at the start of our meal today. Three-year aged Parmesan gougeres had good choux pastry and plenty of cheese flavour, covered with shreds of Parmesan. A squid ink cracker was very delicate, made using langoustine powder and flavoured with lemon zest and espelette pepper and topped with taramasalata. This dish echoed one at The Square, and very nice it was too. There was also a delicate tartlet of Montgomery cheddar, caramelised onion and black garlic (17/20 nibbles on average). Sourdough bread had good texture.
The sequence of courses began with Dorset crab topped with tomato, avocado and basil. This was a fresh tasting dish, the avocado and crab a classic flavour combination (15/20). Native lobster came with pistou soup (a classic Provencal vegetable soup) and Alsace bacon. On the side was a little dish of “garden pesto”. The shellfish was very tender and the bacon added an interesting extra flavour, complementing the vegetable flavours well (16/20).
A very large scallop from the Orkneys was roasted and served with bouillabaisse sauce, basil and olive oil. This was an exceptionally good scallop, precisely cooked and bursting with natural sweetness and standing up well to the strong flavour of the bouillabaisse (18/20). Red mullet from Cornwall was served on a base of barbecued aubergine, garlic buttermilk and piquillo pepper. Mullet is a tricky fish, requiring careful selection (some specimens have a muddy flavour) and precise cooking. When it works though, as it did here, the result is lovely, here working well with the pepper and aubergine (17/20). Fillet of turbot from a medium sized 4 kg fish was served with Cornish squid, Scottish girolles and new season onions, Again the fish cookery was accurate, and the garnishes worked nicely with it, the turbot having quite good flavour (15/20).
A cheese course consisted of a trio: Winslade, Beauvale and Double Barrel Lincolnshire Poacher, with Eccles cakes, plum chutney and oat cakes. An initial dessert was Greek yoghurt with blossom honey, banana and hazelnut. The banana flavour was mercifully restrained, and the honey and yoghurt was a nice combination (15/20). This was followed by blackberry tart flavoured with thyme and topped with blobs of yoghurt and fig leaf ice cream. This had good pastry and pleasingly tart fruit flavour (16/20). Coffee was just ordinary Nespresso pods, and here is room for improvement. At least they could use the superior Kilimanjaro blend from Nespresso, or upgrade to a higher quality coffee supplier altogether. I suspect that the coffee choice, as at many hotels, is not in the hands of the kitchen, but instead in the grasp of a cost-conscious food and beverages director, which is a pity.
Service was very good, the bill coming to £155 each with a couple of good glasses of wine apiece. If you went a la carte and shared a modest bottle of wine then you could expect a cost per person of £95 or so. Angler is a very agreeable place at which to eat, with its airy dining room, appealing menu and technically precise cooking.Book