Archive for July 28th, 2006

Anchor & Hope – London Restaurant – London Restaurants Guide – Square Meal

Anchor & Hope – London Restaurant – London Restaurants Guide – Square Meal.One of the few perks of being a ‘free’ wedding photographer is that you hope to get a gift as a thank you. Of course another plus is that by being a ‘mate with a camera’, if it all goes wrong it’s not your fault. On this occasion however it all went to plan and i clocked up something like 600 photos and put them all on CD for the happy couple to choose at their leisure.In return they very kindly offered to take me and mrs e out for dinner to the Anchor & Hope in Waterloo. The place opened to rave critic reviews a couple of years ago and won gastropub of the year last year I seem to remember. However there’s some mixed punter reviews that have come about mainly through miss-understanding having been there myself and seen how the place is run.What people seem to forget is that this is a pub, that does really goof food. Therefor you can’t book (try booking a table in a Young’s pub) there’s no table clothes or wine glasses, and it’s all fairly simple and basic referb furniture and bare brick walls. The no booking policy is because the actual eating area is tiny, and they just can’t afford to have cancellations and no shows. I had a chat with Robert who was running the place that night, and he says if you’re in the bar, you can put your name down. The wine glasses they use, which are sort of shot glass tumblers, are probably to cut back on breakage, and that perhaps most people these days buy a bottle rather than 175-ml. It also adds to the rough round the edges feeling, doing little shots of rose as we were (it was a hot evening). When I was last in Barcelona a bar we frequented a little bar and were served all wine in broad flat tumblers and we all thought it was great. And unless your a wine expert, does it really matter what glass it comes in?Leg of Lamb with chick peas and preserved lemonsThe two waiters that served us where great, talking through certain bits of the menu and sharing a joke. The chef said hello when we came in, Robert was great and brought our Lamb to Share out personally which was magnificent. It’s a great, social, sometimes messy way of eating, and more places should do it, After all that’s what we all grew up with right? Mum bringing a chicken to the table and everyone diving in. Yet so few places do a big dish to share, which considering how easy it is and how you can knock of four covers with one thing makes me wonder if UK restaurants aren’t missing a trick. Walk into any supermarket and it’s family sized this and family sized that. Thing is a leg of braised lamb takes time to cook, you have to get there early not only to get a table but to get one of these too, as this lamb just fell of the bone. The starters were great too. The pigs face (that’s how it was described on the menu) was a porky chubby number, complimented well by the crunchy cornichons.A Pigs face and crumbly goats cheese and watermelon saladBy then end the four of us had licked the bones clean, though I felt a slight pang of guilt (or indigestion!) at leaving the tray half brimming with cooking liqueur, is it bad form to ask for a Tupperware and take it home for soup? Given that the bride was mrs e’s boss I controlled myself. I only just had room for a fantastic coffee ice cream and espresso for pud.So my advice:Go with friends, go on a whim, and have a back up plan. But enjoy it coz it’s ace.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
July 2006