There is a small (and sadly diminished) group of restaurants in London that all offer a tasting menu (ie at least 4 courses, plus snack) for under £ 50 at dinner. I am almost afraid to list them here in the event that inflation fueled by Brexit makes a liar by the time you read this, but at the time of printing as Picture (Marylebone and Fitzrovia), the Dairy in Clapham Common and the Manor just down Clapham High Street can all make a very good multi-course meal for the same price as most places charge for lunch, and all are highly recommended.
Hoping to join this exalted company, Anglo, a fashionable little place just next to Leather Lane in Farringdon, must be recommended at the very least to offer an extraordinary amount of course – ten if you include all snacks – for £ 45. According to some standards, this is a very decent price, and that is this generosity of mind – not to mention the pretty front of the house – that allowed to dampen some of the mistakes in the kitchen, which I fear there have been more than a few.
It all started well. The "cream of mushrooms and mushrooms" was an interesting stack of mushrooms sliced, dusty mushroom powder, I think, hiding a small mushroom cream ball. With good potent flavors going on, and well seasoned, it was a good start.
Likewise, this "leek pie", an envelope of extremely delicate houblier paste containing a layer of tasty leek powder. I like things like that: an intelligent technique and cheffy used to an impressive effect, not only visually impressive, but also tasting, the powder collapsing in the mouth like candy wire in a thick paste and rich in umami.
I also loved a layer of dashi gel resting on a few pieces of squid. The gel was just strong enough to stand in shape without being off, and the squid had a nice fresh seafood flavor. The presentation was a bit odd, maybe – thanks to the dashi being a very similar color to the ceramic in which it was served, it seemed like you were served an empty bowl at first – but still, smart things.
The excellent yeast of Anglo is served with something like "yeast butter", which I can describe as a kind of whipped Dairylea. Sorry if that does not do it justice, but it is there. Restaurants in London have had a disturbing habit recently adding ingredients to their bread and butter courses to make them as scandalously possible as possible – if you have space, not so good that you do not own not the biggest appetite of the city and do not want to fill up before the arrival of the main courses. If you managed to leave any Dairy bone marrow butter, or the lamb brushed bread in Perilla, then you are a better man than me.
The white asparagus with the duck egg was decent, but if I am brutally honest, not much more than the sum of its pieces. I never had the purpose of white asparagus; I know they 're crazy in France and Spain and I' m sure the best examples are wonderful, but, right up to now, I have always preferred the usual green . Anything could have done with a little more seasoning, especially the yolks.
The lack of seasoning was also the main problem affecting cod "Wellington". Well on paper maybe, but a small amount of caviar was nowhere near enough salt to make it a big chunk of aquatic fish wrapped with slimy algae, and I'm afraid that all this ended up being rather unpleasant. A shame, really, because at the heart of this dish is probably a good idea that requires a decent performance.
Half the dish of lamb – the pink piece of (I think) roasted filet on the right hiding under a sprig of fennel – was adorable; Well seasoned, with a beautiful texture and accompanied by a few pieces of artichoke. Unfortunately, even on the same plate, there was a piece of rock solid and dry slow cooking (probably, I look, I cover my back here) the shoulder, the sub-condition and limit are not compatible . I ate it, because I was hungry, but it was not very nice. There's no really good excuses, I could explain why a restaurant in London in 2017 should not be able to serve the lamb well, so I will not try. That would not have happened.
I appreciated, however, this next mix of cheese and onion melting on a slice of malt mousse, but then, show me a person who does not like a little refined cheese and I will show you a person who is abandoned life. That went very well.
So what. Curd with lemon and horseradish. I'll say it again, in case you think my spell checker is playing. Lemon. And horseradish. I do not want to be one of those people who are nose for real innovation, just because there is a bit of indignation to remove, but really, this use of tasty ingredients in the desserts just got too far. The lemon curd – sweet, citrussy, sweet – does not move with bitter horseradish it is as simple as that. It was like eating a cake that someone had dropped on the floor in the pub and was truly horrible.
After washing the mouth with Folle Blanche, we continued to the next course, chocolate and yoghurt, which was (fortunately) perfectly correct. Nothing revolutionary or even particularly interesting, but pretty to look at and at least not containing parsnips or yams or anything.
Then, finally, a pressed apple reel, slightly on the sour side, but not excessively disturbing, and an Earl Gray ice cream which I experienced kind of kind of ash but which my friend had really struggled. Maybe she was still trying to tear the horseradish out of her system.
There was clearly a lot to criticize at Anglo, so, and I really did. It 's worth pointing out that there was a lot to enjoy – some courses are clearly worth the asking price, and things like leek pie, bread and, well, half the dish of lamb would be easy enough to recommend on their own. The problem is that, at least at night, it is all or nothing, and I am afraid of reaching these treats, you are forced to swallow the horseradish and lemon remedies, and the sticky cod roll, and other oddities. This is quite uneven, and annoying.
And it is for this reason that I am afraid that I struggle to recommend unreserved Anglo. Their hearts may be in the right place and they may be one of the few restaurants in London offering a tasting menu for under £ 50 but even at that price I simply have not found enough to enjoy . Of course, if the idea of lemon and horseradish or the rest of it does not turn your stomach, there is every chance that you can go and have the meal of your life. I'm not here to tell you what you should do, just what I would do. And I can not see myself coming back.