Restaurant Review: The Angler, Moorgate

The Angler Restaurant – Moorgate’s Michelin Star

Fine dining restaurant The Angler Moorgate wasn’t your typical seafood destination. I thought the best of the UK’s seafood restaurants were bright and breezy destinations 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, is not so obviously perched atop the modern South Place Hotel and easily missed. The restaurant is accessed via the hotel, who’s lobby was 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.

The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Interior design of an acquired taste at The South Place Hotel.

Inside, the elongated dining room is all reflective surfaces, shiny things, metallic bits and pieces. The Angler is a modern restaurant: impeccably co-ordinated, sexy; although more stoic than sensual. Immaculately clothed tables are well spaced out, the lighting is thoughtful and the ceiling is stunning. It’s a restaurant full of seemingly happy but very reserved diners. It makes 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 my experience now tells me I was being too optimistic. Anyway, 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 fizz that went delightfully with some soft cheese-bread things.

The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Little bundles of joy -cheese bread.
The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Taking prawn crackers to new heights

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 choice of wine was excellent; although, could get scarily expensive. Most bottles were around the £70 mark.

The Angler Aldgate Restaurant Review London Michelin Star Seafood in South Place Hotel
Some dubious “champagne” but both lovely wines.

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.

The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Dazzling Tuna Tartare at The Angler
The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Familiar favourites at The Angler
The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Strikingly autumnal fishy bits

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.

The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
No-nonsense bread…oddly not at the start of the meal.
The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Amazing beef ravioli – the highlight of The Angler

I liked the contrasting nature of the two desserts on the The Angler Tasting Menu. One light, refreshing, fruity but still with contrasting textures. The other, a black hole of captivating chocolate – too rich for my taste, but I guess 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.

The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Something sweet and light
The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Ridiculously rich chocolate
The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
Gloriously shiny petit fours
The Angler London Michelin Star Restaurant Review South Place Hotel in Moorgate
All included at The Angler’s well priced tasting menu

Other than the forgetting of a celebratory birthday message prearranged when booking, and some inconsequential confusion with the jackets, service at The Angler Moorgate was impeccably timed and completely composed and astute.

The Angler Moorgate Wine Prices

The wine list was excellently compiled. At the time of writing, the cheapest bottle of wine at The Angler, excluding half-bottles and service charge, was a South African Chenin Blanc by False Bay at £25.50. Conversely, the most expensive bottle of wine, excluding magnums and service charge, was a 1983 Château Mouton-Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé at a terrifying £1,420.

The Angler Restaurant Review Score

The Angler Moorgate was a serious and stylish seafood restaurant that well deserved its Michelin star. The restaurant’s premium location and suave interior was reflected in the premium price point. That said, check The Angler Offers Page, as I dined very reasonably considering the above.

Atmosphere 7  Cost 7  Quality 9  Service 9

Find The Angler Restaurant Moorgate

Other Restaurant Reviews
of The Angler Moorgate

  • Timeout: “The star of the show was cuttlefish bolognese with basil rigatoni, Amalfi lemon and olive oil, a sprightly, springtime starter…”
  • Square Meal: “we reckon his super-clean tartares are probably London’s best – look out for the mackerel version dotted with oyster cream…”

Restaurant Review: Camino, Shoreditch

Tasty Tapas at Camino Shoreditch

Where does Camino Shoreditch fit into the hyper-competitive London restaurant scene? I mean, how many tapas restaurants does London need? Probably not the existing 1,000,000, but it needs this one. I’m not generally a fan. Predictable menus, lazy dishes, bland interiors, boring wines, laboured service – none of which were on display at Camino Shoreditch.

That said, Camino Shoreditch did get off to something of a false start and my above fears were pricked. Despite being well-passed opening time, firmly within the realms of lunch, I was the first to arrive, and both the front and back of house weren’t prepared. I should of known the restaurant would have been quiet, run by a nation of people who think nothing of heading out to dinner at 11:00pm. However, this early confusion was rectified by top-quality complimentary olives and warm service through the early afternoon.

Camino Shoreditch Spanish Tapas Restaurant Review
One of each please! Camino’s all Spanish Wine List

On to the food. What do the olive-skinned, almond-eyed, bootylicious brunettes of Basque have in common with the bald, bulky blokes of Bury? Not a lot I imagine, except for one prized commodity, Black Pudding. Despite being English,  indeed Northern, I graciously congratulated our Spanish friends for beating us at our own game, after devouring a well-presented slate full of the black and bloody stuff.  Camino call it Morcilla De Burgos and it’s served with feisty alegría peppers.

Camino Shoreditch Restaurant Review London Tapas Spanish Theme
Banging Black Pudding, Bury would be envious (possibly)

Then the posh egg and chips came. That was taking the piss. “Can they leave us with anything to hold onto?” I moaned to the Mrs, who’d aurally blocked me out by default anyway. The once friendly rapport with the front of house soured as I lamented the delay of Brexit.

Camino Shoreditch Restaurant Review London Tapas Spanish Theme
Posh Egg & Chips at Camino

My churlishness soon softened when the seemingly innocent Arroz Negro or black rice appeared. Wow. I didn’t know it was possible to get rice so interesting. If I could travel to Spain and learn nothing except how to cook rice exactly like that at home, it would be a trip worth making. That said, it’s essentially Bomba rice with cuttlefish, squid ink and alioli.

Camino Shoreditch Restaurant Review London Tapas Spanish Theme
Amazingly silky black rice

The duck didn’t last long. Beautifully pink, juicy as anything. Cooked in something delicious, that I was too high on protein to take note of.

Camino Shoreditch Restaurant Review London Tapas Spanish Theme
Delightful duck, fatty but not too chewy

I can only imagine what the Camino whole suckling pig would offer (available with 48 hours notice), at a not outrageous £180 considering it serves eight people generously. I’m greedy, but not that greedy. I was happy enough with some crispy croquettes instead.

Camino Shoreditch Restaurant Review London Tapas Spanish Theme
Golden and crispy Camino Croquettes

Then came the cheese. Again all excellent. Five neat portions demonstrating different flavours, with zippy quince and nutty fig and almond crispy bits. This was turning into a restaurant I planned to return to.

Camino Shoreditch Restaurant Review London Tapas Spanish Theme
Strictly Spanish cheeses at Camino

Regarding service, the young Camino server took pride in highlighting which dishes were regional to his home town, and took pleasure in sharing the joy of discovering the wines. Inexperienced yes, but a credit to the restaurant.

Camino Shoreditch Wine Prices

Founder Richard Bigg is said to “take enormous care in seeking out the best Spanish wines” which was evident. From the first sip, I knew I was looking at something unexpectedly special from a casual dining lunch spot. I loved the Camino Wine List, trying several full-bodied, smokey but balanced reds, some from regions and varietals for the first time.

At the time of writing, the cheapest bottle of wine at Camino Shoreditch, excluding half-bottles and service charge, were a Spanish (obviously) Tempranillo/Granacha blend from Castilla La Mancha or a Verdejo/Chardonnay blend from Castilla y León both at £21.50. Conversely, the most expensive bottle of wine, excluding magnums and service charge, was a Rioja Reserva, actually a Tempranillo/Graciano by Beronia for £140, with no vintage stated.

Camino Shoreditch Review Score

Scanning the bill, Camino wasn’t cheap for casual lunch, which soon racked up well over a hundred pound for two. That said, nobody forced me to drink wine, and in the evening I suspect the atmosphere is even better. The tapas was outstanding, so I guess you get what you pay for.

Atmosphere 7  Cost 7  Quality 9  Service 9

Find Camino Shoreditch

Other Restaurant Reviews of Camino Shoreditch

  • Sharking For Chips and Drinks: “…you feel instantly transported to an authentic Spanish enclave, due to terracotta coloured walls…”
  • Crummbs: “…arroz negro was deliciously rich and garlicky (not a dish for a first date!)…”

Restaurant Review: Randall & Aubin, Manchester

Randall & Aubin – Soho Shoots Up North

Randall & Aubin Manchester could be positioned precariously. Manchester’s buzzing restaurant scene isn’t known for good seafood. Better known for endless curry houses, well-rooted Chinese restaurants and growing East Asian influences of every flavour. Global brands of all persuasions, loaded burgers, smokey meat feasts, craft beer, real ale and emerging vegan spots call Manchester home. When it comes to classic, French-inspired yet British lead, dare I say it, classy brasseries, there ain’t many.

Randall & Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood Oyster Bar Blog Post
Randall & Aubin Va Va Voom

Does this mean Mancunians don’t have a taste for the seafood not in batter, or will Randall & Aubin shine from a relative lack of competition in their market place? Anyway, when walking up Bridge Street, Randall & Aubin’s smart frontage, loaded with displays of alive looking crustaceans and monsters of the sea, piqued my interest.

Randall & Aubin Manchester is the young cousin of the well-established Soho site, and both venues have a real urbane old-school vibe. The vintage presentation of the menus, branded boxes of white-headed matches and a very solid French wine list gave a certain faded glamour.

Randall and Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood and Oyster Bar Blog Post
Smart Randall & Aubin branding

The oysters were banging, the highlight of Randall & Aubin Manchester. Cold, salty blasts of sea air were launched down, providing memorable bursts of sharp flavour. These little treasures were lubricated by excellent (and on offer) English sparkling wine. Diners choose between French, English, Irish, Rock, Native or a mixture – the helpful server enlightened me on the differences. The English ones, Jersey specifically, where recommended for the uninitiated. The oysters promised even greater things to come, but perhaps the lack of preparation required overstated the promise of the trickier dishes that followed.

Randall & Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood Oysters French Champagne Bar
Stunning Jersey Oysters

Prawn cocktail was the Mrs’ starter, whom immediately upon comparison regretted it. Plenty of good meaty prawns, crisp salad, flavourful sauce, but too much of it, and a faff to eat – what your Grandma knocks up at Christmas. Other starters included a fabulous fish soup, piping hot, featuring a stunning rouille. Despite being the more premium dish, the scallops were not only underwhelmingly small, but gritty.

Randall & Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood Oysters French Champagne Bar
Old School Prawn Cocktail
Randall and Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood and Oyster Bar Blog Post
Wonderfully rich French Seafood Soup (I know it looks like a double espresso)
Randall and Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood and Oyster Bar Blog Post
Nicely presented but small British scallops

Mains at Randall & Aubin Manchester were good but not without fault. A weighty tuna steak was let down by being under-seared and under-seasoned, the only two things required, although was rare as requested. A personal preference, but lukewarm tuna with feta wasn’t a winning combination for me. That said, the vegetables were neatly prepped and the quality of cheese and oregano tapenade was outstanding.

Randall & Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood Oysters French Champagne Bar
Rare Tuna Steak

The Randall & Aubin Lobster Po-Boy was a waste of time. Against my better judgement, I ignored the red flag of “lobster” and “deep fried” in the same sentence but was seduced by having such a premium product at a reasonable £15.50. By the time the lobster had made its way through the batter, brioche and coleslaw it may as well have been prawn, and ironically seemed expensive.

Randall and Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood and Oyster Bar Blog Post
Randall and Aubin Lobster Po Boy

Bouillabaisse – a dish I love – was an entirely terracotta affair, lacking in parley or anything to bring the dish to life, although traditional in presentation. The contents were meaty, fresh, lightly cooked but criminally under-seasoned. Smooth and viscous aoili helped, and crutons added texture.

Randall & Aubin Manchester Restaurant Review Seafood Oysters French Champagne Bar
Randall and Aubin used only British seafood in this French classic

Randall & Aubin Wine Prices

At the time of writing, the cheapest bottle of wine at Randall & Aubin Manchester, excluding half-bottles and service charge, was a Western Cape Cinsault by Boutinot or a 2017 Pays d’Oc Vermentino by Vieilles Vinges both at an approachable £22. Conversely, the most expensive bottle of wine, excluding magnums and service charge, was a 2009 Dom Perignon Champagne at £180. Considering that wine retails for around £140, the mark up isn’t outrageous – perhaps worth keeping in mind if you’re looking for top end stuff.

Randall & Aubin Review Score

Randall & Aubin’s menu is dominated by high-quality seafood from around the British Isles. There’s fancy Orkney scallops, English & Irish oysters, Dorset crab and Peterhead cod. Lobster keeps popping up, but more modest whelks, clams, cockles and shrimp do to. That said, it wasn’t all executed as the polished environment and service suggested.

Atmosphere 9  Cost 7  Quality 7  Service 9

Find Randall & Aubin Manchester

Other Restaurant Reviews
of Randall & Aubin

  1. Manchester Evening News: “Coriander threatens to topple the balance of flavours, and I envy the simplicity…”
  2. Confidentials: “Other dishes included a really good, if pricey, sea bass fillet (£21.50) helped by the spinach…”