Monday, December 18, 2006

The Anchor & Hope

The Anchor & Hope

36 The Cut, London SE1 8LE

Tel: 020 7928 9898

(15 December 2006)

Went to the Anchor & Hope with David and Michelle for Christmas lunch last Friday. The A&H is a favorite in the gastro pub category as it does what many food pubs completely fail at namely provide very good food. Find that many gastro pubs basically just sell fancy hamburgers and deep fried Camembert. They did not disappoint as everything we had was simply fantastic. Actually, at a quality that takes them out of the pub category altogether and simply makes them a somewhat unconventional quality restaurant.

We had a total of four dishes snail and bacon salad, beetroot and egg salad, oven baked Vacherin cheese and braised duck all washed down with copious amounts of Gamay. The snails where fried in butter with the bacon and served with croutons and mixed leave salad with a warm vinaigrette. The beetroot salad is simply a marinated beetroot with some yoghurt based dressing topped with fresh spinach and a soft boiled egg. The trick here is in marinating the beetroot... more on that later.

The mains where simply irresistible. The Vacherin is put in its case into an oven at 120 Centigrade with full convection for 15 min or until soft but not running. When served with fresh boiled potatoes sprinkled with sea salt this becomes an unbelievably rich and sumptuous dish. You could not eat warm Vacherin by itself it is just too rich but with the potatoes it becomes just right.

The Duck on the other hand was a very pleasant surprise as I’ve never had duck this way. Braising or slow cooking is one of my favorite methods of preparing meat but to date I’ve never done this with a gamey bird. What they’ve done is fill the cavity with root vegetables, brown the outside of the duck in a braising pot then cover with chicken stock, throw in some herbs (rosemary, laurel leaves, a bit of sage etc), salt and pepper and leave the whole thing in the oven at medium heat for about 4 hours.

Now, either of the mains would have been wonderful by the selves but together they where sinful! Really, too bad I had to go back to work.

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