It’s a truth universally acknowledged – in the gastronomical world, at least – that if you walk into a restaurant and see Raymond Blanc sitting on his own, demonstrably enjoying the tasting menu, with a glass of white Burgundy in hand, you’re probably in for an above average evening.
And so began our experience at Anglo, on the corner of Leather Lane in Farringdon. The kitchen is headed up by Mark Jarvis, who started his career at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, moving on to Texture (blogpost here) and the Blueprint Café. This is Jarvis’s first solo venture, as owner and head chef, so Anglo has been hotly anticipated in foodie circles – apparently, no more so by his former boss.
The décor is stylish yet parsimonious, in a ‘spotlight-on-the-food’ kind of way. No distractions, no pretence, and just the way I like it. There’s no choice in the evenings (though lunch is à la carte) and a £45 menu consists of three ‘amuses bouches’, one starter, fish/meat/cheese course, and three desserts. It changes constantly and is extremely good value for the amount (and quality) of food. Tuck in your napkin folks, this food story’s a good’un.
After a serving a sourdough bread and yeast butter – restaurants these days seem to feel a need to whip up their own butter and I’m not complaining – the three starters are, not surprisingly, first up. The chanterelles and cep custard:
The Jerusalem artichoke and smoked bone marrow:
And last but not least, the burnt leek tartlet:
The chanterelles and cup custard were my pick of the bunch, closely followed by the Jerusalem artichoke. The burnt leek tartlet was slightly odd but very interesting. Just make sure not to sneeze or make any sudden movements in close proximity as the topping will go flying!
Next up, autumn squash with burrata and chestnut (we made do without the £25 Perigord supplement) which was a light and creamy dish and really tickled the taste buds for what was to come.
We opted for the additional course of Isle of Mull scallop with kombu (seaweed) and white beetroot and boy, were we right to because it may well have been my favourite dish of all. As you would expect, the scallop was cooked to absolute perfection and the accompaniments were in total harmony with the dish. It’s a little extravagant but a must-order it if you can. I mean, look how pretty it is too!
Fish course next and the cod with celeriac and mussels (there are there, just hiding) was divine – again, really well cooked and perfectly seasoned. The celeriac purée was creamy and comforting, and all in all it was a very balanced dish.
But it’s hard to argue against the duck stealing the show. The Yorkshire mallard with red cabbage and juniper (+ £9 foie gras supplement) was simply to die for. Every mouthful was bliss and the flavour combinations were bang on. It would be nigh-on impossible to get any closer to flawlessness on a plate, and I’m scared to go back to Anglo in case it’s not on the menu.
The cheese and onion on malt loaf also falls into the ‘strange but good’ category and after a brilliant but fairly conventional dish, it’s a refreshing reminder of Jarvis’s boldness to see flares of uniqueness creeping in.
First of the puddings was sea buckthorn and horseradish. Errrmmm yup, me neither, but whatever that is, it was good.
‘Chocolate and beer’ followed – perhaps the one that didn’t quite work for me, but the table was divided.
And lastly, much more up my street: English apple and Earl Grey (ice cream). Invigorating, succulent and a very appropriate end to a very special meal.
Chefs like Mark Jarvis don’t come around too often, and when they do, they slip onto the scene elegantly and without an attention-seeking bang. You may not have heard of Anglo but it’s doing all the right things, and ticking all the right boxes.
Next time you have a special occasion to celebrate, head to this special place; you never know, you may even see Raymond Blanc checking up on his former young talent.
+44 (0)207 430 1503
30 St Cross Street, Farringdon
London, EC1N 8UH