It’s easy to fall in love with Anglo.
It’s not the palpable enthusiasm of the kitchen team, or the warmth of the welcome and genuine interest in what you think of each course: it’s a heady mix of all three. Mark Jarvis and Jack Cashmore have an impressive track record of experience in fine dining, from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons to Sat Bains.
You don’t expect a handwritten menu on a strip of card, the terseness of the list (‘Leek’. ‘Asparagus’. ‘Beef’) somehow ramping up the anticipation. Not from a place The Telegraph called one of the 10 best tasting menus in the country.
But the impromptu presentation was due to them fitting us in at lunch time for a tasting menu, when they only served a la carte, but were kind enough to accommodate your humble correspondent’s shameful cockup over dates when originally booking. That’s a touch of class.
But that’s where the ad hoc ends.
That burnt leek tartlet is a piece of brilliance, something I can’t begin to fathom. It’s ineffably friable- we are warned of its fragility and instructed to pick it up gently- yet it packs a punch that belies its delicate structure. The top is a mere dusting, with liquid underneath: a suffusion of flavours and textures which is spellbinding. And in a second, it’s gone. It’s as close to perfection as I’ve met recently: destined, you feel, to become a cult dish in its own right.
Baby asparagus, watercress and courgette make up a warm salad, tumbled with pea shoots and watercress. A smoked mousseline finishes a deceptively simple dish which highlights the natural tenderness of the vegetables.
Red mullet is a highlight, a meaty tranche of flesh with sea beets and carrots. The sweetness of the vegetable, the ‘meatiness’ of the fish, the delicate flavours not overpowered by the earthy carrot: it’s a lovely thing.
Beef is aged Hereford: it’s been cooked slowly with indirect heat and then had its edges seared for colour. It’s a striking ruby, a superb cut of meal treated with reverence. With the sweet char of onion and the wild garlic in the girolles, it’s a plate which doesn’t try to gussy things up unnecessarily, and is all the better for it.
Nothing on any plate is there just for the sake of it. Which sounds redundant, or so one would hope: but it’s a key feature here, which specialises in putting just a few lovely things on a plate and leaving them to sing.
Cheese and truffle is an eyebrow-raiser, with Comte cheese on malt loaf. This divided the table: I rather enjoyed the nutty-sweet flavours and the aerthiness of the truffle, but PY was unconvinced: although he liked each constituent part, he didn’t feel it gelled together.
‘Chocolate’ teamed a cold crumb with a silky ganache and mascarpone, and is a thing of decadence.
Strawberry sets sweet summer fruit against slightly bitter leaves. It’s a happy end to a remarkable meal.
There’s clearly something special happening at Anglo: since we visited, Pierre Koffman and Raymond Blanc have been spotted dining there. Surely great things beckon for Jarvis and Cashmore, although chefs look younger and younger these days.
You’d be well advised to pay a visit: it’s the kind of food which, in my friend’s words, makes you feel ‘the rest of the day is going to be brilliant. Nothing can destroy that.’ And any meal which gives you that feeling is something to be treasured.
And the bill? £45.
Go. Fall in love.
30 St Cross Street,
Lunch 12.30pm – 2.30pm
Tuesday to Saturday
Dinner 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Monday to Saturday
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This blog is a very simple thing.
I won’t try to sell you any hand lotion, exercise programmes, coffee syrups or Patagonian nose flutes. You won’t find tips on dating, ‘wellness’ or yoga mats.
I write because I love it (and food, as indicated by my increasing girth). Greed happens to be my Deadly Sin of choice, but at least it is never shy of providing me with subject matter.
A simple thing, then: all you get is me wittering on semi-coherently about places I’ve eaten at; hence a ‘restaurant blog’ rather than a ‘food blog’, although there are a few recipes scattered throughout.
From mezze to Michelin ‘fine dining’ and all points in between.