One bite: The Taste ~ Two bites: The Love
115 Charterhouse Street, London UK
+44(0) 20 7250 1300
Two Bites Rating ***
Dinner – Wednesday, March 8, 2017
We went to England for a long weekend and decided to stay in a non-standard hotel. I love pubs so this was a great choice. Fox & Anchor is a busy pub, a great atmosphere to walk into for a drink or a meal, but checking into the hotel was a little confusing and crazy. Nonetheless, we were quickly directed to our reserved table, an antique sewing table. There were additionally 3 private cubbyhole rooms with tables which I assume need reserving in advance. Our server promptly came to us for a drink request, which we decided on an Australian wine. As she returned with the bottle that was in a wine cooler, not a bucket, it was placed on the table and asked what we would like to eat. I had a few questions and I thought while she was answering me she would open the wine, but instead, she just answered while my husband opened the wine. It was a screw top and a pub so ok, I am in an easy mood and being American I am not hip on all the normal procedures of pubs. With questions answered, as the server had full knowledge of the menu we ordered.
Given the restaurant was nearly full we waited a bit for the first course but not too bad. The problem came when our 2nd course arrived, my pork collar was very rare. As a chef I know you can cook some pork at a more medium temperature so I thought this was a possible reason for it but it was quite raw. I waited and waited for someone to come to the room so I might hail them down to ask if this was standard. My husband finally got up and found the manager and ask for her to come see us. We waited some more. This was getting ridiculous, he got up again and she sent over a server. I asked and the reply was, “Today is my first day, let me go ask” The manager finally came to us and immediately apologized, but never said yes or no this is or is not standard, just took the plate and later came back saying they are cooking me a new one. I said there was no need for a new one it just needs more fire. I had to ask if it was cooked incorrectly as I had imagined it was, and yes, it was meant to be cooked to well done. I have to say she was very apologetic and immediately insisted on taking the dish off our bill. Given the confusion and lack of checking on us after the first bite of food, it was handled really well in the end.
The wine list was in a very easy to relate to format. Divided into varying levels of description made the choice more accurate to what you are in the mood for. “Crisp & Fruity” and “Mineral & Complex” are just 2 of the 4 white wine categories, while “Rich & Spicy” and “Ripe & Juicy” are in the Red Wine categories. My biggest complaint is that the chilled wine comes in a cooler. This seems to be a growing trend that has the appearance of being “fancy” or “different” but it does not work. The “cooler” is just to keep a bottle at its current temperature not to chill it further and most white and rosé wine is never cold enough or warms up due to the air temperature and hand holding. Ice water in a bucket is still the number one way to chill a bottle of wine and keep it chilled. We ordered a bottle of Deakin Estate Viognier Australia (28.50£). This paired well with our meal.
First Course 1: Scottish scallops in baked puff pastry, leeks and white wine (9£) – Baked in a scallop shell with the pastry on top. Not a very large scallop, however it was perfectly cooked in a creamy sauce.
First Course 2: Smoked haddock and tomato gratin (6.5£) – Smoky flavor was not overpowering, it was also in a creamy style sauce.
Second Course 1: Treacle and Stout cured pork collar, potato hash and fried duck egg (15£) – This was my underdone pork that was very good in the end. Loads of fresh pork flavor and they do get it from the meat market next door. This was my first time having a duck egg and it was in my taste, Sunny side up, so slightly undercooked whites, yet no biggie to me (I believe Europe, in general, is lacking in the variations on cooking an egg, compared to the US.) It tasted like a chicken egg really.
Second Course 2: Young’s beer battered cod and chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce (14.5£) – This was my husband’s dish, he always warns me never to let him order Fish & Chips again after he has finished. As we shared both dishes I don’t think he was feeling that same regret. It was very battered but not greasy. The “mushy peas” were great, mush mixed with big chunky peas.
For a pub, I was expecting over the top portions, yet when they arrived, I was pleasantly surprised, they were just the right size. Still no room for dessert. The food has a slight stodgy feel to it, whereas they have some other dishes worth trying that might not be so. This is a Young’s chain of pubs, I had no idea a chain of pubs existed, as you will see later, another review of a pub that happened to be a Young’s as well, The Lamb Tavern. I think any of the Young’s establishments would be worth the visit.
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