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

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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

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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: Sticks ‘N’ Sushi, Covent Garden

Sticks ‘N’ Sushi – You Maki Miso Happy

Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden was a turning point. I never understood what the fuss was all about. Sushi – uniform slivers of translucent fish, wrapped up in something or other. I mean, what was there really to get excited about? I thought sushi was an overpriced excuse for a meal, something for the pretentious and anorexic. How wrong I was. Sticks ‘N’ Sushi opened my eyes to a new world of flavours and exotic ingredients, each more exciting than the last.

Once seated, I was handed the sexiest menu in existence. Although overwhelming, I leafed through this glossy erotica, dribbling over the sheer aesthetics of it all. I was interrupted by exceptionally elegant cocktails promptly arriving; the ‘Yuzu Zoo’ ethereal citrus and plum notes delightfully danced around a distinguished gin base.

Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden followed a tapas format, with small but perfectly formed plates arriving quickly and often. For those with big appetites and expensive tastes, Sticks N Sushi was potentially exorbitant. However, the lower priced options were delicious, and dishes quickly added up to become surprisingly satisfying.

The Tuna Tartare was one of Sticks N Sushi’s premium dishes, and stunning was an understatement. Dressed up like a miniature fairy tail garden, the fine muscular units of tuna hiding underneath were world class. The tartare was so graceful in its presentation and flavour combinations that I savoured every morsel like Charlie Bucket with his Wonka chocolate bar.

The Spicy Tuna Maki was another dish I’d suggest is essential eating. Miso Aioli lovingly clung to the handsome tuna, which was itself maternally embraced by perfect rice. I now predict Miso Aioli to become the hipster condiment of 2017, dethroning 2016’s Flying Goose Siracha. I loved the Masago element too – tiny orange gems, tactfully adding colour, texture and taste.

The ‘Sticks’ element of the restaurant’s name is down to dishes like the grilled sweet potato (on a stick). The dish had a clever smokiness, and its Teriyaki dressing lifted this humble ingredient to something of status. The Gypsy Rolls were carefully prepared and offered decent value for money, as I attempted to bulk out the meal without breaking the bank.

Unfortunately, the desserts at Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden were something of a non-event. Diners choose from a variety of colourful things in the shape of golf balls, none of which left an impression. My advice is to skip pudding and take another look at the excellent cocktail menu.

Currently ranked 122 of 17,720 restaurants in London, Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden earned this pedigree by offering thoughtfully prepared majestic dishes in a sophisticated, cosmopolitan environment.

Kanpai!

Sticks N’ Sushi Covent Garden
Review Summary

Atmosphere 10  Cost 6  Quality 9  Service 9

Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden Restaurant Review
Maki – Gypsy Roll
Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden Restaurant Review
Maki – Spicy Tuna
Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden London Restaurant Review
Yakitori – Satsumaimo Yaki
Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden Restaurant Review
Tuna Tartare
Sticks N Sushi Covent Garden Restaurant Review
Fondant, Mochi Ice Cream & Dark Chocolate

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Covent Garden