Readers of Barbican Life will be aware that I rate the Angler sea food (mostly) restaurant on the top floor of the South Place Hotel, midway between Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations, and about a 5 minute walk from my flat, as perhaps the best in the area, but may not know that there is a slightly more casual dining option available on the terrace outside the main 7th floor restaurant. Fine for the warmer weather one might say, but nowadays, with a retractable roof over and removable fully transparent side walls, with electric patio heaters it now provides an all-weather option for year round semi-alfresco dining. In summer, the roof area can be pulled back and the transparent side panels up to make it a full alfresco option – and being west facing it has become a hugely popular evening destination.
A view of Angler’s Winter Terrace past a spectacular bottle of Prieuré de Montézargues, Tavel Rosé wine recommended by the Sommelier to go with a salmon dish. Photo J Blouet.
What is more, in addition to a bar menu, the full Angler a la carte restaurant menu, in all its Michelin-starred glory, is now available on the terrace, as well as a lunch-time set menu option (£35 for 3 courses). This makes the newly refurbished terrace effectively a perhaps slightly more casual extension to the full restaurant experience. So in many respects it now also acts as a great extension to the main dining area. Management has thus transformed what might have been a summer-only terrace space into a year round great dining experience.
Not expecting availability of the full Angler menu we were thus pleasantly surprised on our visit to check out the terrace area in its winter trappings. Not being sure if it would be chilly were again pleased that it was very warm, despite it being a very cold day outside, with ceiling height electric patio heaters running the full length of the terrace.
As one should expect with a Michelin-starred restaurant, service was exemplary – and so was the food – even down to a very tasty amuse bouche, and excellent bread served with seaweed infused butter.
The fish soup
One thing where Angler excels is in the intensity of the flavours in the cooking. For example, I started with a red mullet fish soup (£ 14.50) off the a la carte menu – with croutons, gruyere cheese and rouille and the flavouring of the soup was remarkable. First rate. My colleague went for the set menu and started with a ballotine of ray wing and crab on cucumber soup. Something of a creative masterpiece and a brilliant starter.
Ballotine – Photo J Blouet
For the main courses I chose Steamed Wild Sea Bass on a bed of crab crushed pink fir potatoes with sauce vierge (£28.00) again beautifully presented as one would expect. A more gentle flavour than the red mullet soup, but as with everything I’ve ever tried at Angler it lived up to my best expectations.
My colleague, sticking to the set menu, went for Loch Duart Salmon, seaweed tartare, hispi cabbage and carrot and ginger puré e. As one would expect from an establishment which works hard to keep its Michelin Star rating this was described as cooked perfectly, hugely flavoursome and again beautifully presented. One has to say that, in comparison with the a la carte menu prices, the set menu provides equally spectacular food, but at a much lower cost.
Salmon with carrot and ginger puree
We had wines by the glass recommended by the sommelier. An interesting selection and none that I would have chosen myself, but I don’t mean this as a criticism. All were excellent choices but mostly ones I didn’t know . As examples, with the soup, a dry sherry rather than a normal wine. With the ballotine a Portuguese Vinho Verde. With the Sea bass a dry Greek white from Santorini and with the salmon the spectacularly bottled French Prieuré de Montézargues, Tavel Rosé, pictured above, from near the Chateuneuf du Pape appellation in the Rhone valley.
And so to dessert and/or cheese. In an attempt to try to keep things light I went for a trio of delicious sorbets served on a brandy snap (£8.50) while my colleague on the set menu had the Lincolnshire Poacher cheese. As with everything at Angler, all very good.
The Angler Terrace thus offers a great location for perhaps just having a few drinks and perhaps snacks from the bar menu, up to the full Angler a la carte and tasting menus. We were perhaps lucky on the day we were there which, although icy cold outside was actually a bright sunny day. We really didn’t want to leave.
Evening drinks on the Angler Terrace
Somehow, in the evenings too the Terrace offers a really special place for a drink and/or a meal as pictured above. Overall a great destination in the City.
Angler is on the top floor of the South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF. Tel: 020 3215 1260