Angler is a seafood restaurant owned by the D&D group – they own a staggering 24 restaurants in London including Michelin starred Launceston Place, Coq d’Argent, Bluebird in Chelsea, Butlers Wharf Chophouse…I could go on for days.
It’s based in the rather swanky South Place Hotel near Liverpool Street and as the restaurant recently received a Michelin star we thought we’d pop along for lunch.
The dining room is on the seventh floor of the hotel and it’s a fairly long and narrow space. The patterned walls and low ceiling gave the feeling of being trapped inside a lobster cage. Given its near city location we were the only ones not wearing suits – it was that kind of place.
Some warm cheese puffs got things off to a pleasant start and the soft white roll that followed was also nice. The accompanying butter could have done with a good sprinkle of salt – I hate unsalted butter as it has no flavour whatsoever!
The set lunch menu seemed decent value at £30 for three courses but as we spied some of the dishes going to other tables we thought they looked a bit plain Jane and therefore opted for the a la carte menu.
To start I went for the seared Orkney scallop, red wine braised beef, butternut squash and sage brown butter (£13.50) which looked rather pretty. I’ve never had beef and scallop before and it went surprisingly well together. The cubes of butternut squash were a little undercooked which was a shame but the sweet purée was really tasty and made up for it.
My gentleman companion went for the carpaccio of octopus, salad of squid and mango, soy and ginger dressing (£12.50) which looked even prettier. Lying atop the thinnest octopus carpaccio imaginable was a fruity and refreshing blend of mango, ginger and watermelon with some crisp fried squid. It was really enjoyable.
I also loved my main of pan fried halibut, pumpkin, black cabbage and autumn truffle sauce (£24.50). The halibut was a big ol’ buggar that had been cooked to perfection. The sauce tasted of a rich beefy stock which was very tasty indeed and some truffle shavings added a most welcome earthiness.
My gentleman companion was less blown away by his Loch Duart salmon, ravioli of langoustine, Swiss chard and lemongrass infused bisque (£22.50) as it was a bit….boring. The presentation could have been made more flamboyant if perhaps the bisque was poured at the table. The salmon was at least cooked well and the ravioli (should be raviolo actually) was well made if not a little under seasoned.
We ordered two sides; chips and spinach (£3.95 each). I was a bit annoyed as both mains featured spinach so we didn’t need to order anymore – we had spinach coming out of our ears – but it would have been nice if our waiter had informed us of this! The chips however were really lovely; crunchy and proper salty.
For dessert we decided to share the milk chocolate cream, coffee and amaretti crumb (£6.50). It was pleasant enough, nothing life changing though. There was a (very) subtle hint of coffee, a light white chocolate mousse and a thicker chocolate caramel-like concoction hidden in the centre – it did the job I guess.
Our meal at Angler was far from perfect and the service was a little hit and miss. Our empty plates were often left at the table for uncomfortably long periods and during our meal the staff lacked the charm and personality that we received when collecting our coats. The whole experience definitely didn’t compare to other one Michelin star restaurants we’ve experienced, let’s put it like that. But when the food was good, it was really good, I just think Angler needs to smooth those rough edges.