Condé Nast Traveller
Pin-sharp seafood champion in the City
No gimmicks here. No glassy eyed taxidermy or vintage props, or regurgitated back-stories about foraging, or amateur dramatics – other than the well-choreographed theatre of friendly, attentive waiters circling around ballerina-white tablecloths. Angler is a bright, angular space floating at the top of South Place hotel, with a silver ceiling filigree glinting like fish scales; there’s a covered outdoor terrace for summer. Cast your line out of the slanted windows and you’d doubtless snag the hook on a crane, or a high-rolling shark in a TM Lewin shirt at the very least, for this is City-slicker land at its most rapacious. But Angler takes its time. Scouse-born chef Gary Foulkes, who spent years at The Square in Mayfair, has brought Asian flavours to the fishcentric menu, and kept the Michelin star won by predecessor Tony Fleming.
Foulkes has just unveiled his new Taste of Autumn menu, introduced by marble-like balls of truffley arancini and twirls of prawn crackers with bubbles of taramsalata. There’s a pleasing rotunda of yellowfin tuna tartare mixed with avocado and given a hit of wasabi and shiso, and an artful dish of suckerless roast octopus and crispy chiperones with Jersey royals, drizzled in a rich Worcester-saucy bagna cauda. As for the roast cod with chanterelles, if a fish could sing, this would be belting out La Mer. It’s all beautifully plated and well-paced, with flavours as sharp as a Shantoku knife, and the seafood never gets overshadowed by any of its co-stars. For pudding, the jewel-like strawberry tart is light and not overly sweet.
The Angler’s approach to wine pairing with fish is the same as 007’s in From Russia with Love – you know, the bit where Bond clocks the so-called Englishman is a Soviet agent after the swine orders Chianti with his Dover sole. So whites all the way. Italian sommelier Alessandro Giani shares his encyclopaedic knowledge lightly, bringing over a fruity Vinho Verde for the tuna tartare, and a fulsome Santorini Assyrtiko for the octopus. For the strawberry tart there’s a low-alcohol red fizz from Austria’s Umathum vineyard that you could happily knock back until the boats come in.
For creative seafood paired with a ravishing wine list, this is one of the best places in town.”