Scores: 1 M*
I have to admit that I had barely heard of Angler but after it received a star in the 2014 Michelin guide (see rant) I was curious to see what the fuss was about. Angler is situated in the relatively new South Place Hotel in the city. The hotel is owned by D&D London, formerly named Conran Restaurants, which owns many restaurants around London including Launceston Place. The hotel is a quite cool boutique-y scene with Conran designed interiors. The other restaurant and bar which is on the ground floor was on this evening hosting a private Halloween party so there were a large number of people wandering around the lobby in fancy dress with the thumping of Rihanna or the like in the background. This reminds me of why I have stopped staying at these cool hotels with ‘happening’ lobby bars as when you have just got off a transatlantic flight and your body thinks it is 23:30; it is not fun having to deal with this type of chaos during check in (dam, I am getting old!).
Thankfully Angler is on the top floor of the hotel and was comparably sedate. There is the main restaurant with a small bar on the side which opens out on a drinks terrace. Both the bar and the terrace were lively despite the fact that it was pretty cold night. The restaurant was over half full on this Friday night, perhaps highlighting that Fridays and Saturdays in the city are still not key nights for restaurants. The décor in the restaurant is fairly forgettable and thus at least is inoffensive.
As is name may suggest Angler is predominantly a fish restaurant although there are also a few meat dishes on the menu. Two canapés of bite sized cheese bread were given to us while we looked at the menus. There was a very good value set menu that was available at £25 for 2 or £30 for 3 courses, which on a Friday night at 8 o’clock seemed like a real bargain. Despite this we opted for the main a la carte menu. A starter of yellow fin tuna tartar with lime and chili (£14) was very good, the tuna was decent quality and there was a nice balance of flavours such as lime and sesame running through it, this with the addition of some small wasabi flavoured spots helped bring out the best in the fish. Shellfish ravioli with tomato and chive butter, fennel and ginger slaw (£13.50) was also very good, the pasta thin with a rich meaty filling of prawns, crab etc.
Grilled Dover sole (£36) came in a large portion of 500g which was a lot of fish for one person. There were no complaints here; this was a nice piece of fish that was perfectly cooked. Some sauce vierge on the side (hollandaise was also available) was nice. Roast turbot with a ragout of squid, fennel puree and sea purslane (£27.50) was a decent dish. The turbot was cooked well and the ragout of squid was tender with plenty of flavour. A side of Spinach (£3.95) was fine.
The service was good overall, apart from the ‘I can’t get anyone to get me the bill problem’ LINK. This was a good meal and this is a welcome addition to the city area which has finally gotten a few restaurants which are actually worth travelling to. However, this is no better than Scotts, J Sheekey or One-O-One, which are restaurants that the guide has ignored for years, although perhaps the dishes are slightly more ambitious than those at the first two.