As far as gastropubs go, The Anchor & Hope is no stranger to London. Not known entirely for its range of ales and beers, it’s a place where one can always be guaranteed a good crowd, fantastic service and incredible food. I find Anchor does what others cannot really do with as much ease – cook good food at a most basic, simple level, and cook it with a 100% accuracy, precision and balance. What I also love about the place is that on a Monday they could get a whole pig in, butcher it up, and have a porcine-tastic menu for the rest of the week, or they’d get a quarter cow and dutifully set about deriving every dish under the sun with a bovine stamp on it.
Then of course, there’s the blackboard that serves as a menu. When something runs out, it just gets crossed off the blackboard (and the printed menus too!) and if you’re with a few people, this is the place to come to for huge sharing plates of food like braised lamb shoulder for 3! On the night we went, it was Rabbit’s offal on toast that grabbed my attention for starters, and that’s exactly what I got, nothing more, nothing less, and boy was it ever so good! For the main course, MK and I decided to share the chopped rabbit with mustard, chips, bearnaise along with a couple sides dishes of lentils and greens. When the rabbit did come, it was as I feared – a whole hopping bunny hacked into pieces just right for picking and gnawing on, and who could refuse the siren call of hand cut chips with bearnaise?
Desserts were in the form of Raspberry souffle and vanilla ice cream. What I loved was that the waiter came over and recommended that we dig a hole and drop the ice cream into the souffle, instead of doing that for us. It is one of my pet hates when waiters do that in restaurants – it’s the most fun bit of the souffle – I want to drop the ice cream in. Waiters tearing your souffle and dropping your ice cream in is almost as sacrilegious as them cracking your creme brulee for you. Just not acceptable! Luckily, here at Anchor, they leave you to manhandle the souffle in private. What a souffle as well – actually tasted of raspberries and even had a fair few of them sitting at the bottom of the dish along with some coulis. Raspberry heaven! Our other dessert of Almond tart and clotted cream was just as intense and perfect, save the piece of crust that didn’t quite make it with the rest of the tart on the table, but that’s what I love about a place such as this – they’re not going to let a little cosmetic blip stop the tart from making its way into the bellies of some very happy and satisfied customers!
The only unfortunate thing about the Anchor is that they don’t take reservations and more often than not, it can be a hefty wait for a table, not that it’s something that’s off putting by any means. It’s a place that makes you feel happy.
Recommend you go: 8