The Angler kitchen at the South Place Hotel is headed by Gary Foulkes, who joined in April 2016 after being head chef at The Square, and taking over from Tony Fleming. The restaurant has retained its previous Michelin star under his tenure. There was a tasting menu at £70 and a longer one at £100, as well as a full a la carte choice. The wine list featured 273 full bottles ranging in price from £25.50 to £1,420 with a fairly high median price of £92. Mark-ups were stiff, averaging 3.4 times retail. Sample references were Sepp Moser Zweigelt Kremstal 2015 at £39 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £11, Radford Dale Nudity Syrah 2015 at £58 compared to its retail price of £27, and Chalmers Sagrantino 2012 at £88 for a wine that will set you back £22 in the high street. For those with the means there was the gorgeous Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 at a steep £815 compared to its retail price of £372, and Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1983 at a hefty £1,420 for a wine whose current market value is £455.
The tasting menu began with gougeres made with a filling of aged Parmesan, double baked with a Parmesan crust. These were lovely, with deep, satisfying cheese flavour. More canapés appeared. A further set of gougeres were topped with flecks of black truffle. There was also a prawn cracker with taramasalata, espellete pepper, lemon zest and langoustine powder, which had vibrant flavour. I enjoyed deep-fried Jerusalem artichokes with slivers of pork “floss”. Also good were delicate tartlets topped with wild garlic emulsion, Parmesan emulsion, onion ketchup and grated Parmesan and onion flowers (16/20 nibbles). Sourdough bread was bought in from the East London Bakery.
The first formal course was mackerel tartare with pickled radish, oyster cream, seaweed powder, crisp shallot, apple and shiso. This was refreshing, the apple’s acidity working nicely with the fish (16/20). Monkfish was cured and prepared as a ceviche using blood orange. This came with taramasalata, sourdough croutons, basil and shiso flowers, which gave a nice contrast of textures (16/20).
Crab was served with spring onion, mayonnaise, avocado purée, dashi pear, apple sorbet with gelatin of apple juice and finger lime with wasabi oil. Crab and avocado is a classic combination, and the pear here provided a little sharpness, with the wasabi oil adding a noticeable spicy kick (16/20). Turbot from a 7 kg fish came with Hollandaise made with dulse seaweed, Isle of Wight white asparagus and a langoustine tail. The turbot had the good flavour that you only get with a really large fish like this, the langoustine was delicately cooked and the asparagus was pleasant though undercooked (16/20).
Red mullet came with buckwheat spaghetti and mousseron mushrooms. This was probably the weakest dish of the meal, though still entirely pleasant. The fish skin was left on but was not crisp, but the flesh was cooked well enough (14/20). The final savoury course was John Dory with asparagus Provençal, morels, wild garlic purée, Parmesan gnocchi and black Perigord truffle with white asparagus sauce. The fish was cooked well, and the morels and asparagus were a classic accompaniment. The gnocchi had good texture and the truffle added a luxurious fragrant note to the dish (16/20)
Sable Breton biscuit was topped with Amalfi lemon gel and lemon curd, which was a nice combination. I would not have chosen basil ice cream to go with this but it was harmless enough (15/20). Strawberry choux bun had rather chewy pastry though the strawberry ice cream had good flavour and texture (13/20). Peanut-flavoured sponge cake had chocolate ganache topped with a chocolate dish, with banana ice cream on the side that tasted of unripe bananas (13/20). Coffee was the Kilimanjaro blend from Nespresso. For petit fours, a canele was quite light and was decorated with a star of whipped cream on top. There was also a raspberry half dome of raspberry mousse coated with a smooth raspberry gel, and this worked very well. Finally there was a salted caramel chocolate that seemed a touch too salty (14/20).
Service was excellent throughout the meal, which worked well through pretty much all the savoury dishes. The pastry section of the meal was less impressive, as so often occurs with meals in the UK, which lacks the depth of pastry chefs that you see in France. Nonetheless this was a most enjoyable meal overall. The bill came to £245 a head but that was with plentiful quantities of serious wine. Including the lovely Guigal Condrieu La Doriane 2016 at £220 compared to its retail price of £75. If you order three courses and shared a modest bottle of wine then a more typical cost per person would be around £95. Overall this was a much more consistent meal than my previous one here, with the kitchen delivering some very good fish dishes.Book