Welcome to The London Foodie
Reviews of London's Restaurants, Supper Clubs and Hotels, Wine Tastings, Travel Writing, and Home to the Japanese and French Supper Clubs in Islington
For the latest food events, restaurant openings, product launches and other food and drink related news, visit the sister site The London Foodie News
Monday, 15 November 2010
Whenever I feel like having well made, traditional British food with a contemporary twist I head down to Charterhouse Square. Tucked away from the excitement of Charterhouse Street and Smithfields Market, the Fox and Anchor has, for years, been my local gastro pub of choice.
Despite its discreet location, the pub is always popular with regulars ranging from the nearby meat traders and City professionals, to students and tourists. There is a fine suite of six luxury hotel rooms above the pub. I have not stayed there myself but they look elegant from their website pictures and at £95 for a special "Lazy Weekend" rate, I feel it is also good value considering the central location (click here for details).
On a busy autumnal evening, Dr G and I found ourselves perusing once again the familiar menu. To kick off proceedings, we shared a delicious bowl of "Crab and Seafood Bisque" @ £6.95. The broth was creamy and rich, and unlike the more usual smooth bisques, it had small pieces of fish and seafood.
This was followed by another favourite Fox and Anchor dish - "Potted shrimp on toasted crumpets" @ £6.50. I really loved the texture and flavour of the Morecambe Bay brown shrimps served on toasted/buttered crumpets, and the delicious aromas of mace and nutmeg. I would struggle to find a better accompaniment to our first round of pale ales than this dish.
I am always slightly at a loss as what to drink when I visit the Fox and Anchor - the choices of draft and bottled beers can sometimes be mind boggling. The staff are always at hand and are more than happy to advise on their range of beers. On that evening, Dr G and I started on a couple of pale ales, "Sierra Nevada" and "Mad Goose" which were both excellent.
The "English asparagus with poached duck egg & hollandaise sauce" @ £7.50 was also very good. The asparagus spears were tender but not overcooked and the accompanying duck egg and the hollandaise sauce were richly contrasting.
For main course, Dr G opted for "Calf's liver, onion gravy and mashed potatoes" @ £14.50. The liver was yielding but still slightly bloody, with the mashed potatoes creamy and perfectly textured to soak up the onion gravy.
Every time I visit the Fox and Anchor, I try and order something other than their burger, and as always, I failed on this occasion. "The Fox and Anchor burger with goose fat chips" @ £12.50 is in my opinion usually one of the best in London. On this visit however I felt the patty was minced a little too finely, making it rather dense, dry and hard. On the other hand, the goose fat chips were faultless.
To accompany our main courses, we shared a large bottle of "Meantime Indian Pale Ale" @ £6. Made in Greenwich, the brewery has its own pub - "Greenwich Union Bar" on Royal Hill which is another favourite of mine south of the River.
Cost: Around £25 for a 3-course British meal per person excluding drinks.
Likes: Unfussy British cooking, seasonal ingredients at reasonable prices. Excellent range of beers on tap and bottle as well as a decent and well price wine list. I would strongly recommend the goose fat chips, the steak tartare, and the seafood bisque. I also love their pies, particularly the steak and ale.
Dislikes: The large TV screen in the main bar area feels somewhat out of place and can be rather intrusive for those after a relaxing dinner. The burger patty was not up to their usual high standards on this visit.
Verdict: One of my favourite gastro pubs in London, serving great food and a wide selection of beers and wines at very reasonable prices. A very good place to experience what British cooking is all about. Highly recommended.