What: The Anthologist – bar and restaurant (http://www.theanthologistbar.co.uk/)
Where: 58 Gresham St, The City EC2V 7BB
When: Early Sept 2012
Price: About £10-20 for a main course, £8 per cocktail
Rating: 4 stars (lost points for temperature of mains, gained points for good service and good decor)
The Anthologist is gorgeous. Located in the heart of the City, it is a real hotspot for City folk, and locals alike. We went down on a fairly average Tuesday and the bar area was filled to bursting with people enjoying a post-work cocktail or a cheeky glass of wine., which goes to show how popular it is.
The dining room area is right next to the bar, and has a combination of tables close to the open kitchen, and intimate little booths on raised platforms by the windows. We were seated in one such booth and were handed a cocktail list, while we looked around the room. One thing is certain – The Anthologist was designed lovingly, with close attention to detail and a real eye for imaginative décor. The walls are lined with bottles, and the bar and kitchen area echo each other beautifully. Even the loos are gorgeous! The restaurant area achieves a buzzy, exciting feel mixed with a sort of relaxed ambience – which sounds a bit odd but is absolutely spot on for enjoying the cocktails and good food.
It took us 20 – TWENTY – minutes to order cocktails, as they all looked impossibly delicious. The cocktail menu has a wide variety, including classics and arrangements unique to The Anthologist. I opted for the English Rose – a heady, flowery cocktail with notes of elderflower, garnished with edible flowers. It was hypnotic and sweet, and had to be taken in small sips, but it was delightful.
For food, I ordered the chicken satay on our waiter (Jay)’s recommendation, and my companion, The London Lad, ordered the crispy squid. The chicken was beautiful, and the peanut sauce was spot on. Both dishes were beautifully presented and very tasty.
For mains, I went for the classic burger with cowboy fries, which are covered in a honey barbecue sauce, while TLL went for surf and turf. The burger was tasty, and the fries were good, but the mains were slightly let down by the fact that The Anthologist serves food on wooden boards (which tend to steal heat), so unfortunately both the fries and the burger were not particularly hot. TLL also found that his steak wasn’t very hot, though his lobster was piping hot, so while mains were still enjoyable, they weren’t outstanding.
For pudding TLL went for the salted caramel and plum knicker bocker glory, which was very good (though it proved a bit too big for TLL to finish!) and I went for the crème brulee, which was served with lavender shortbread. The crème brulee was very tasty, and the shortbread was beautiful, though the lavender was a bit too subtle for me to detect.
All in all, we had a superb evening at The Anthologist, made even better by our fantastic waiter, who provided impeccable service. I would go back in a heart beat, and can easily see myself spending more evenings in their equally beautiful bar area. Definitely worth a look.