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Restaurant Anglo in London

Rating: 90.
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Since the opening in April 2016, Anglo has been getting high praise from Britain's restaurant critics, including two 5-star reviews from Grace Dent (then Evening Standard) and the late A.A. Gill (The Sunday Times), within weeks of opening. Later that year Anglo picked up the Observer Food Monthly's "Best Newcomer" award. Anglo is located just off the lively Leather Lane market in Farringdon, and is run by Mark Jarvis (owner and co-head chef), Jack Cashmore (co-head chef). Both chefs cut their teeth at renowned restaurants with Jarvis working in the kitchens of Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons in Great Milton (2 Michelin stars), Texture in London (1 Michelin star), The Blueprint Café in London, and The Bingham Hotel in Richmond, and Cashmore at Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham (2 Michelin stars), and In de Wulf in Dranouter, Belgium (1 Michelin star, now closed).

Anglo is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. At lunch the restaurant offers a 6-course tasting menu for £42, with an optional extra cheese course for £7, but the menu can also be shortened to 3 courses for £27.50, 2 courses for £22.50 or even just a single course for £16. In the evening, from Tuesday through Thursday, Anglo offers a 7-course tasting menu including appetisers for £48 and on Fridays and Saturdays they offer an 8-course tasting menu for £60, also including appetisers. I had dinner with my husband at Anglo in October 2017 and we both had the 7-course tasting menu plus the optional cheese course. *I was recognised

Dinner started with three small dishes called "intro". First to arrive was a small bowl with a creamy cep custard, covered with thin slices of mushroom, and little strips of truffle, and finished with a delicious mushroom broth and a dusting of dried mushroom powder. A refined little dish with lovely nutty and earthy flavours and an intense umaminess. 

This was followed by a delicate tartlet filled with a burnt leek crème topped with a light, molecular-style celery powder. A delightful bite with lovely warm leek flavours and a nice long finish.

The intro was concluded by a tartare of yuzu-marinated scallop (hand-dived), garnished with caviar and covered with a thin disc of dashi jelly. Yuzu is one of the most outspoken members of the citrus family and easily an overpowering flavour. Here it was used with care and it enhanced the sweetness of the scallop nicely. The overall flavour combination of the ingredients was wonderful and balanced.

First course of the tasting menu were various textures and preparations of Jerusalem artichoke, including a roasted halved artichoke, artichoke puree, salted and thinly sliced artichoke, and a delicious little crunchy salad of diced artichoke mixed with semi-dried diced apple and a nice and acidic vinaigrette. Also on the plate was some thinly sliced fresh chestnut, a fresh chicory leaf and some soft and unctuous bone marrow. A very pleasing dish, the Jerusalem artichoke offering a lovely variety of textures and the bone marrow adding an attractive warmth and richness to the dish. 

Equally pleasing was well-cooked, moist ray wing (poached in white wine), complemented by a delicate sauce made with the poaching liquid, shredded marinated kombu, poached oyster, oyster leaf, and some deep-fried seaweed crunch. An original choice of fish, that had been well-aged and its distinctive taste and texture matched well with the other ingredients, the oyster adding just the right touch of freshness for balance.  

Main course today was grouse, served in two courses (supplement of £12.50). First up was confit leg meat mixed with a creamy emulsion, and served with parsnip puree and grated foie gras. It was followed by a piece of succulent grouse fillet, topped with fried girolle mushrooms, and accompanied by a grouse jus, a black garlic and chocolate puree, and a nice and intense smoked celeriac emulsion. An excellent, well-executed dish, the celeriac marrying well with the grouse; the funkiness and intensity of the black garlic and chocolate puree provided a nice contrasting flavour. 

Next up was a cheese course. Hiding underneath a delicious pile of finely grated Berkswell cheese was a piece of malt loaf covered with onion cream. A gorgeous and original combination.

The meal was concluded with three desserts, the first one being a sea buckthorn curd slice served with three blobs of Italian meringue, the latter balancing the tartness of the sea buckthorn nicely. Second dessert was a little chocolate dome filled with white chocolate crème, served with a nice and tart raspberry puree, pieces of aerated white chocolate, crunchy honey comb, a creamy white snow, and finished with lavender powder. A good dessert with great use of different ingredients and flavours, the floral and minty lavender being a risky element, but working really well here and not overpowering in any way.

Finally there was a dessert of preserved blackberries, mascarpone, broken oreo cookies, caramelised sugar shards, blackberry meringue shards, and a very pure and concentrated blackberry sorbet. A very enjoyable dessert with a pleasant level of sweetness and a lovely interplay of textures.

At first glance Anglo might just seem a small and unassuming restaurant, but after the first few bites it's evident that the food is anything but unassuming, and I can see why critics have been wooed by this charming restaurant. Today's menu displayed clever and accomplished cooking. Ambitious, yet pleasantly unpretentious dishes with precise flavours and playful twists here and there. The keenly priced menu represents very good value, the £45 weekday menu being one of the best tasting menu deals in London, especially considering the quality of the cooking. Service was good too. In short: everything you want from a modern restaurant. Obviously I had been eager to visit Anglo for a while. My first attempt was in November 2016, but due to delays at Heathrow Airport I wasn't able to make it on time for lunch. The first opportunity that came up after that was almost a year later, but I'm glad I finally made it. I'll be back.

Posted 21-01-2018


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