‘It’s like being in New York’s meatpacking district’, said the Northerner as we sipped our dessert cocktails on the hotel’s roof terrace.
Yet with its two enormous olive trees, lush planting of lavender and herbs, and designer wicker furniture (yes, there is such a thing) it seemed more like somewhere in the South of France. Without the heat. Or the Mediterranean.
The restaurant in question is Angler; a seafood restaurant that is actually in the heart of the City – Moorgate, to be precise – where it sits atop the South Place Hotel. Which sounds a bit like somewhere in Florida.
And while this geographical merry-go-round might imply that Angler has an identity crisis, it’s not the case. What the D&D restaurant group, who are behind the South Place Hotel, has done very cleverly is to draw on a host of international and local influences to create a restaurant quite unique to London.
As with their other restaurants, Angler is a good looking place. It’s long, elegant, light-filled dining room features a dramatic mirrored ceiling, designed by the artists Grace & Webb. With floor-to-ceiling windows and the aforementioned roof terrace offering striking views of London’s skyline from its rooftop location, Angler has great views to complement its good looks.
The service does not quite live up to Angler’s aesthetic promise, though. The front of house and waiting staff were friendly, if a little bit distracted. And while we were there to sample the set menu, we had to ask to see the a la carte version. It was if they were worried that we might go off-piste. Which we did, by starting with a selection of the Colchester and Mersea oysters, to whet our appetites. One was creamy, the other very much tasted of the ocean (I can’t remember which) and were so good that it converted the non-oyster eating Northerner into a fan.
Moving onto the set menu and the terrine of ray wing and salmon, cucumber and mint gazpacho was delicate in flavour and beautifully presented. The salad of crab and watermelon, crab bon-bons and lime curd was amazing. I would never have picked crab and melon as such a good match. What do I know? The Cornish fish stew, saffron braised potatoes and buttered chard was a big flavoured dish in which the fish was perfectly cooked. The pan fried cod, artichoke barigoule, artichoke purée and crispy capers was meaty and flavoursome.
The desserts were better looking than they tasted. The almond macaroon, blood peach and raspberry had an interesting mix of textures and temperatures, warm and cold. I’m not sure that it quite worked. The charming sommelier matched our dishes perfectly, with my personal highlight being a beautiful Gewürztraminer, Fronholz, Vendanges Tardives, from, Alsace, which worked wonderfully with the subtle flavours of my terrine.
Later in the evening the Northerner remarked that the restaurant was like being in Hong Kong. Wherever Angler reminds you of, you can rest assured it will be good.