Michelin starred Angler revisited – almost perfection

We returned to Angler, that great fish restaurant atop the 3 South Place hotel located about halfway between Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations.  We first went there just after it opened a year ago and in the intervening period it has achieved the award of a Michelin star and we wished to see if this had changed it at all. 

We really liked this new restaurant the first time around and I’m happy to say that if its starred accolade has changed it at all it has been for the better.  It is quite frankly one of the best restaurants I have eaten in anywhere.  The decor is very light and airy and attractive, the service excellent without being obsequious, attention to detail is great – and what more can one say about the quality of the food and its preparation and presentation but that it is exquisite.  Yes we really liked the whole eating experience.  Head chef Tony Fleming is certainly doing a great job and is hugely proud of the Michelin star awarded within a year of the restaurant’s opening – and rightly so.

angler_rest_main_march13

The light and airy and very attractive Angler restaurant at the South Place hotel

Service and quality of this type does not come inexpensively, although in comparison with top West End restaurants Angler is at the lower end of the cost spectrum.  On the a la carte menu starters range from £9.50 to £18.50 – unless one goes for caviar at £105, or a half dozen oysters which would cost £30.  Mains come in at between £19.50 and £36 for the fish dishes – choice of seven – and there are three meat options so there are options for non fish eaters and they come in at between £22.50 – £26.50.  There is a vegetarian option at £18.50,  Sides are £3.95 each although you may not need them as most dishes do come with vegetable accompaniments.  Desserts from £6.50 to £7.50 – or £12.50 for the cheese option.  So, for a three course meal you are probably talking about nearly £50 a head without wine, coffee or service – but for food of this taste and quality it is probably hard to match.

Indeed it is hard to make a choice when one reads through the menu.  Virtually everything on it looks great – and when what you have ordered arrives you are certainly not disappointed in any aspect.  The reality is perhaps even better than the anticipation.

But – remarkably for such a top class restaurant there is also a brilliant set menu option – £25 for two courses, £30 for three with choices of four starters, four mains and four desserts, several of which are among the main a la carte offerings – so definitely an affordable option for those on a more limited budget wishing to experience top quality cooking, service and ambience.

The restaurant also offers a six course tasting menu at what appears to be a very reasonable £60 – although wine pairings with the dishes will at least double that cost.

Happily, on our visit, the restaurant allowed us to mix and match between the set and a la carte options and we did take advantage of this.  The Jerusalem artichoke soup with foie gras, duck confit and smoked bacon off the set menu was creamy heaven while the langoustine and lobster cocktail with crisp little gem lettuce and brown shrimps left a standard prawn cocktail at the starting line – and as for the beetroot salad with heritage carrots, goats curd and lemon thyme dressing this was a veritable work of art and, my companion said, had a taste to match its beautiful presentation.

cocktail

The langoustine and lobster cocktail

beetroot salad

Beetroot and goats curd salad

Could the rest of the meal get any better?  Perhaps not – but certainly it maintained at least the same high standard.  The Risotto Milanese with chilli and garlic prawns and baby squid was reckoned by my companion to be the best risotto she had ever tasted – and she eats out a lot – while the fillet of halibut, soft herbs, winter vegetable casserole and smoked salmon salad was divine!

The desserts were equally beautifully presented and tasted superb.  It would be difficult to find any fault at all in this absolute gem of a restaurant – perfect for the special occasion, or for perhaps trying to impress a client with a great business lunch, while the set menu option offers a potentially reasonably priced outing too.

There is an extensive wine list to meet most pockets ranging from around £21 a bottle for a Cote de Gascogne white or £25 for a St Chinian red (both available by the glass at £5 and £6.50 respectively).  But the list goes all the way up to around the £800 mark for those on massive City bonuses who may want to show off their wealth.  We were amused by a special half price wine list available on Mondays ranging from £70 a bottle upwards to around £290 – but I suppose at half price that can represent a huge saving on some very classy wines.

We washed our meal down with a selection of wines by the glass selected by Sommelier Benoit Allauzen with choices from Germany, Spain and France all excellently chosen and designed to match the various courses.

Angler restaurant is at the excellent new South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF.  Call 020 3215 1260 for bookings (advisable) or bookings can be made online at www.anglerrestaurant.com .  Email angler@southplacehotel.com.