Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Lazy Lunching at The Anchor & Hope

Things got off to a shaky start. I staggered over to The Anchor & Hope and asked for the table I'd booked, Sundays being the only day you can do so. The nice lady behind the bar checked her sheet and told me she didn't have me down. As she quickly offered to make me one up, I breathed a sigh of relief; there aren't many alternatives in Southwark. I ordered a bloody mary to calm the excesses of the night before and promptly threw it over the bar. "It's Sunday, it's allowed", soothed the barman as I gibbered my apologies.

Once seated, I glanced over in horror as a table of 12 seated their toddlers within flicking distance of us; this was particularly unnerving given I was dining with the sweariest man on Twitter. I hope they were too young to understand us.

The Anchor & Hope operates a set menu for Sunday lunch, one sitting at 2pm. The place was packed right out; laughter, glasses chinking and children demanding attention rang around us. Olives were huge, and radishes dipped in a suitably fishy and garlicky Anchoïde, a Provencal sauce, got us off to a good start.

Fish soup with a rouille-topped crouton and Olgeshield cheese was a monster portion. The broth was rich, dark orange and deep in flavour with the fish was cooked to tender perfection, though if I was to be picky I'd say it was slightly over-salted. This might have been due to the stark contrast of the glass of pear fizz I'd previously consumed.

Roast rare breed (Sasso) chicken was placed before us, alongside a mammoth dish of gratin Dauphinoise. The skin of the chicken was pleasingly crisp and the meat juicy and herb-spiked. Eyes boggled at the sight of the creamy discs of potato and I am sad to say it defeated us. I contemplated asking for a doggy bag but my arteries pleaded for mercy. The watercress largely went untouched for favour of more spud.

Thankfully, the Poire belle Hélène dessert was light. The poached pear, tasting slightly boozy, was enveloped in a thin layer of chocolate syrup topped with hazelnuts. It was tricky business chasing it round the bowl with the spoon provided and my companion opted to eat it with his hands, dribbling pear juice down his sleeves in the process.

Dishes cleared, espressos drank, we ordered a second bottle of wine. It got dark outside, chairs were put on tables and the staff reassured us that there was no rush. A full five hours after I'd arrived, we were the last to wobble out the door, stuffed to the gills and a little drunk. It may have started off disastrously but it ended well, and I can't think of a much finer way to spend a Sunday.

The Anchor & Hope

36 The Cut,
London, SE1 8LP

Tel: 020 7928 9898

24 comments:

AdLand Suit said...

The chicken was fantastic. The second bottle of wine was wholly unnecessary, but equally fantastic.

Sharmila said...

I love the Anchor and Hope, and have whiled away many a drunken evening there (always end up eating the salt cod brandade for some reason). I went there for Sunday lunch for my birthday late last year and it was brill. And we did end up asking for a doggy bag, and they happily obliged :-)

vinotecalondon said...

Hello Lizzie,

So glad you enjoyed the Anchor & Hope! I couldn't agree more that it is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I think we were there for 5 hours too, there just seems to be no reason to leave!

Have you tried the Canton Arms yet? I want to check them out soon!

Caitlin

Chris said...

Nice to see the A&H hasn't slipped in standards. I've never had a bad meal, it's just their bloody booking system (ie. there isn't one, except on Sundays) that often defeats me. "Fish soup with a rouille-topped crouton and Olgeshield cheese" sounds absolutely marvellous, and with my salt tolerance I bet I'd have enjoyed it even more :)

Jonathan said...

Sounds awesome. I love the place. I wish there had been a burst of tourrettes at some point from our fellow advertising practitioner!

Liz said...

That soup looks wonderful (salt levels aside). It's looking at pictures like that that really makes me miss living in London - I can't think of anywhere within about 50 miles of where I live where you'd find anything comparable.

AdLand Suit said...

I, Jonathan, was a paragon of virtue throughout. Lizzie, on the other hand, swore like a fucking squaddy. Children wept. SERIOUSLY.

Fillyerboots said...

I blame the parents.

fingersandtoes said...

Did they not have any vegetarian option? I work close by, would love to be able to try the food there some time.

Laura Nickoll said...

I don't think I've seen such a consistently gallic menu at The Anchor and Hope before. Great-looking gratin (and I'm fussy about gratins), and that pear is definitely the best way to round off such a gorgeously glutinous meal. We served poached pears with spoons at our wedding - big, messy, hilarious mistake.
Have you been to Comptoir Gascon in Smithfield? Highly recommend it.

PheasantPlucker said...

that does look great, especially the soup, nicely balanced menu

Lizzie said...

ALS - Wine is always necessary.

Sharmila - I've been for dinner twice before too, but haven't tried the salt cod. Always drunken times.

Vinoteca - I haven't tried the Canton Arms, but have heard a LOT about it... will have to go soon!

Chris - It's no hardship to wait for an hour or so for a table though is it?

Jonathan - Not so much a burst, more of a stream...

Liz - such a shame - I imagine a lovely country pub would do well with this kind of set-up.

Fillyerboots - Yep, I'd definitely go 50 / 50 on the blame for you and Mum... pottymouths!

Fingersandtoes - there were no options. I rather like that about them.

Laura - it was very Froooooonch. i hope your wedding dress escaped unscathed! I haven't tried Comptoir, it will go on the list.

PheasantPlucker - thanks - it was delicious.

Greedy Diva said...

I would like to add a thoughtful comment, but all I can say is I LOVE THE ANCHOR & HOPE. I also love its near relation, 32 Great Queen Street.

Wild Boar said...

I've been to A&H a couple of times now and found their consistency a little bit wobbly. But maybe it was me expecting more after a great first meal. Main problem for me, as you point out is the lack of a booking system.

shayma said...

lovely write-up, Lizzie. the pommes dauphinoise looks rightly gorgeous, crispy on top and probably comforting and soft inside. great writing- you pulled us in in the beginning when you dropped your bloody mary right to the end when your friend was eating the pud' with his hands, (e bravo!). would love to go there for sunday lunch and have not one, but two bottles like you did. x shayma

The London Foodie said...

Hmmm, you made me want to go back there again. Last time we went there, we waited for hours for a table, it was dinner, and a few years ago. The food looks fantastic... have you tried Meson don Felipe also on The Cut? I normally go there if i am going to the Young Vic, love that place.

Douglas Blyde said...

When you say 'promptly threw it over the bar', this sounds dubious? Were you actually sick?

Lizzie said...

Greedy Diva - I'll have to check that place out, with such a sterling recommendation!

Wild Boar - I've never been to the A&H when I've had plans later on, therefore I've not had a problem waiting for a table, but I understand it can be frustrating.

Shayma - thanks! I think a 2 bottle-luncher is definitely the way forward.

London Foodie - I've not tried there but I'm always looking for SE places, so thanks!

Douglas - No, I threw IT. I didn't throw UP.

ginandcrumpets said...

I would happily climb inside that gratin, it looks gorgeous. A Sunday lunch that lasts 5 hours is a good lunch.

The Grubworm said...

I'm going to be dreaming about that gratin tonight - looks amazing.

I also love the A&H. Went there on a Tuesday evening and ended up waiting for 2 hours for a table - and it was worth every wine-soaked second of the wait.

Fantastic food, on a par with St John. They have the same knack of making seemingly simple dishes taste fabulous.

AdLand Suit said...

Have you never been to Great Queen Street? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Christ, and you call yourself a foodie...

Lizzie said...

G&C - I enjoyed it so much I'm making one of my own tonight.

The Grubworm - I agree, though I would find it hard to spend 5 hours in St John; it can be a bit cold and clinical.

ALS - Yes, it's true. Sob!

Aaron Davies said...

@Lizzie - i think you;re right - it would be difficult to spend that long at SJ - i had never really thought about it. Do you think it's something to do with the A&H being a pub not a restaurant?

Lizzie said...

Aaron - I think that might be it. I suppose what with there only being one service there was no hurry to free up the table for other people waiting too.