The Angler Moorgate, a fine dining restaurant out of
plaice place. I thought the best seafood restaurants were bright and breezy like Restaurant Nathan Outlaw…Cornish sea air, Farrow & Ball blues, that kind of thing. The densely-packed, dusty, grey/brown streets and shiny high-rises of Moorgate suggested something entirely different. The Angler, not obviously perched atop the modern South Place Hotel was easily missed by hungry out-of-towners. The restaurant’s accessed via the hotel’s lobby, one reminiscent of a Dolce & Gabbana catwalk. I suspected this was Rick Stein’s personal hell. Anyway, I was soon pleasantly greeted by a charming blonde restaurant manager, annoyingly sporting a much sharper suit than me.
Inside, the elongated dining room was all reflective surfaces, shiny things, metallic bits and pieces. The Angler was a modern restaurant: impeccably co-ordinated, sexy but more stoic than sensual. Immaculately clothed tables were well spaced out, lighting was thoughtful and the ceiling stunning. It was restaurant full of seemingly happy but reserved diners – it made sense for that part of London. Two Russians sat adjacent with shiny suits and shinier watches. They barely passed comment as one expensive dish after the other came and went without note, probably too focused on their latest embezzlement to care.
Thankfully, a charming Italian sommelier danced around the The Angler dining room, lifting the atmosphere somewhat. He possessed that unfortunately rare quality in a Somm… of actually enjoying wine. I used to think a love of viticulture was a prerequisite of the job, but experience told me otherwise. Alas, I was proved wrong but I appreciated his graceful rapport. Although, The Angler passing-off a wine made in New York (of all places) as “champagne” was questionable. Regardless, the Yankie bubbles were pleasingly yeasty and fizzy, which went delightfully with some soft cheese-bread things.
The Angler Moorgate was obviously all about the seafood so white wine became the natural focus. With a variety of dishes ahead, but the backing of a limited budget, a not horribly priced Alsacian Riesling was picked from a broad selection. The wine was versatile, displaying a ripe-peach sweetness and clean finish, a good pick if I say so myself. The breadth of potential wine was excellent; although, could get scarily expensive. Most bottles were around the £70 mark.
The mackerel tartare was a triumph. Not quite as magnificent as the tuna equivalent at Sticks N Sushi but still dazzling. There was no escaping from the fabulous quality and vibrancy of the fish, and the delicate acidity made the dish special. Oyster cream, green apple and shiso (Japanese mint) were all well-balanced, without distracting from the main ingredient. The Angler helpfully provided a recipe here.
A relatively simple cod dish was faultlessly prepared. Other delicious fresh fishy bites materialised like clockwork and all savoured with glee. Speaking of simple, Michelin highlighted: “the kitchen has a light yet assured touch and understands that when fish is this good it doesn’t need too much adornment.” The Angler’s Executive Chef Gary Foulkes, used to be head chef at the previously two Michelin-starred restaurant The Square, so he knows better than most what Michelin are all about.
That said, the surprising highlight of The Angler was the beef ravioli in a truffle consume. I can still taste the incredible flavour combinations and is up there with the best dishes I’ve ever tasted – simply out of this world. It was that rare kind of dish that made me want to leave the restaurant and hug not just the head chef, but everyone in the kitchen.
I liked the contrasting nature of the two desserts on the The Angler Tasting Menu. One light, refreshing and fruity. The other a black hole of captivating chocolate – too rich for my taste, but I guessed that’s the point. The final petits were glamorous and glossy. I could have lived without the bits of gold foil, but the Russians probably approved: “Know your audience” I whispered to the Mrs, tapping my temple with a self-approving nod.