I am slowly ticking the D&D restaurants off my ‘to eat’ list. The successful company have numerous venues around London, each with its own character and cuisine. South Place Hotel is their first hotel venture and the fashionable accommodation has 80-bedrooms. It is a luxurious but characterful choice in the City of London, just minutes away from Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations.
The hotel feels like a rare gem amongst the slick city blocks with Conran-designed interiors, 2 restaurants, 3 bars and 5 private dining and meeting rooms. It is energetic and offers a glimpse into the vibrant culture of London and has strong links to the neighbouring districts. I will tell you about the bedrooms on another occasion, as we were here to try the celebrated fish restaurant Angler on the top floor of the hotel.
After an immaculately mixed cocktail in the first floor Secret Garden bar we headed upstairs for an evening of wining and dining. Like the hotel design, Angler restaurant is sophisticated and subtle with a touch of personality. Slate grey carpets, pristine white clothed tables and striped chairs. The large slanted windows let in plenty of natural light, the unusual shape of the room definitely makes it feel like a destination eatery.
The menu for Angler focusses on fish, a speciality of head chef Tony Fleming. Starving after my purposefully meagre lunch I was salivating just reading through the luxurious and creative menu. Soon the sommelier was by our side, serving us both a glass of special champagne.
Before starters we were treated to a mouthful of heaven – a mousse of cauliflower and cheese – it was utterly scrumptious and very moreish. Warm bread, fresh from the oven was also delivered, a dangerous distraction on the table. From the menu we chose the following:
Shellfish ravioli, tomato & chive butter, fennel & ginger slaw £17.50
Isle of Wight tomatoes, mozzarella di Campania, bitter leaves, basil dressing £13.50
Fillet of John Dory, cannelloni of lobster, peas, clams, smoked bacon £34.50
Roast guinea fowl, seared foie gras, sweet onion purée, Périgord truffle sauce £34.50
Chocolate fondant, pistachio ice cream £8.50
Buttermilk panna cotta, raspberry & rose infusion, lychee granita £8.50
Each plate was beautifully arranged to showcase the food in the most attractive manner and illustrate the kitchen team’s innovative cooking style. The freshest single ravioli came filled with fresh shellfish. The pasta was magically thin with a decadently creamy sauce and a garnish of tomato, chives and spring onion. The tomato and mozzarella dish had a Mediterranean feel, served cold it was the ideal summery salad. A generous serving of torn creamy cheese, with ruby ripe tomatoes and shards of thin crispy bread. I loved it.
The John Dory was handsomely presented though I found the dark grey plate was a little oppressive. The fish was perfectly cooked and fell apart when touched with a knife to reveal a creamy white flesh. Placed on a bed of bright green pea puree and the cannelloni of lobster was possibly the tastier seafood I have ever tried.
The Guinea Fowl was on an oriental-style plate with a painting of a tree and carefully placed Chanterelle mushrooms which had a fruity but earthy aroma. The poultry was light and delicate, and worked well paired with the rich foie gras and sweet onion chutney. We were very lucky to receive adventurous and interesting wine pairings for each of the courses, explained eloquently by our sommelier for the night.
My dessert was a lavish bowl of snow white panna cotta with a surrounding moat of raspberry and rose infusion with lychee granita. The pudding was girly and sweet with an exotic hint from the lychee. I would have liked a contrasting crunch in texture, but the flavour was delicious. The chocolate fondant was simple and classic, made professionally with a gooey centre and served with homemade pistachio ice-cream and a satisfying pile of cocoa nibs.
Angler is the ultimate fish lover’s restaurant, but also provides for those less keen of the fruits of the sea. There is reason enough to visit South Place Hotel but with Angler perched on the upper floor, there is now a reason to return again and again to this dynamic destination.
More information and book a table at Angler here: www.anglerrestaurant.com