I rarely win anything whether it’s a raffle, a silent auction, or a village fete tombola, so I was gobsmacked when I heard I’d won a dinner for four people and a cocktail-mixing session in an Action Against Hunger raffle at Cookery School at Little Portland Street. I could pick from a selection of restaurants in London from the restaurant group Drake and Morgan – The Anthologist and The Parlour both in the City; The Folly in St Paul’s; The Refinery on Bankside or The Drift in Heron Tower.
I chose The Anthologist and managed to get four of us together on a Friday evening and it begins with the Mixology Class. We learn to mix and muddle two great tasting cocktails The Clover Club and a classic Mojito with a twist.
The Clover Club is a ‘sour’ a raspberry cocktail with a little sugar syrup, lime juice and the white of an egg. The Mojito was ‘twisted’ with Cointreau or Violette liqueur and I made the latter – delicious. The lesson was great fun and I couldn’t recommend it more, the classes are usually for 5 or more.
And my Violette Mojito
After our hour-long session, we made our way to the table – right at the front near the pass – with Martin Manning, Head Chef working his magic not behind the pass but in front of it. The restaurant is huge but the buzzing atmosphere fills it with ease and I’m annoyed I’ve not found it sooner. A short tube ride to St Paul’s on the Central Line and a wiggle past the Cathedral and some great street names (Bread Street – London’s former ancient Bread Market) and hidden gems and you’re there.
He comes and explains a little bit about the menu which has so much choice, split up into sections; Woods, Pastures and Gardens; Large plates; Flatbreads and sharing boards; Sandwiches and Po-Boys and Steaks and the Steak and Burger Bar. An A3 sized menu has everything you could possibly want to eat on it and there are specials on a blackboard.
We choose some small plates which include: Sun-blushed tomato & parmesan croquettes (£5.95);
tempura crispy squid served with a ginger & firecracker sauce (£6.95);
Prawn popcorn served with a chilli dip also (£6.95).
We also got some Flambé scallops (which were supposed to be cooked at the table – retro seventies style) but this didn’t happen. Maybe the ‘Culinary Kitchen’ was taking a night off (in fact I have no idea why this didn’t happen) nonetheless they were superb and worth every penny of their (£19.95).
The ‘Goldfish in a Bag’ is a brilliant take on the once most-wanted fairground prize. It’s made with Little Bird Gin; Hangar One Vodka Mandarin; Rhubarb Bitters; and Fever Tree tonic with edible lily pads (pansies) and the all-important fish (grapefruit skin).
For main course I chose a superfood flatbread on the recommendation of the waitress which was for me a little disappointing. A large thick flatbread was scattered with
roasted butternut squash, red onion, goat’s cheese, spinach and roasted pecans. Pleasant enough, but the base was way too thick for the topping and it was dry. I ended up leaving the bread and scraping off the topping which was tasty (£9.95).
Mr had the Cote du Boeuf (20.95) cooked medium rare with Bearnaise Sauce (£2.50) with that he took a side of chips (£2.95) and loved it all, the onion rings were very impressive.
Toby had the Thai Beef Salad (£9.95)
Sarah had the Lobster Po-Boy (£19.95) served in a brioche hot dog roll, it wasn’t shy of the marie-rose sauce and came with a small side salad of fennel & spring onion salad.
We just had to order the Roman Fries (there’s a whole section on “Tatties”) which were served with parmesan, truffle oil and rosemary. These were exquisitely good (£4.95) and I could have eaten another portion with ease.
For those watching their weight – there are a few recipes on the menu under 500 calories – but only a few. I don’t think you’d come here if you were watching your weight anyway – there’s too much in the way of temptation.
Desserts were pretty inventive too and we treated ourselves to a Pudding Shot (£7.95) – a trio of chocolate brownie, toffee apple crème brulee & berry trifle sundae – the latter was my favourite.
No one could eat more but a Milkshake isn’t really a dessert is it? So, I ordered the Salted Caramel Milkshake (£7.50) because if was curious it was a delicious mix of bourbon whisky, salted caramel, vanilla ice cream and chocolate bitters. It was fantastic and helped me home in a taxi.
We drank quite a bit in addition to our two cocktails pre dinner. Mr had a double Buffalo Bourbon (£8.00), us gals sank 2 double Snow Queens (one of the newer Vodka cocktails, recently added to the Sip Menu) (£8.90);
2 fish in a bag cocktails (£8.95) Toby had just a Jack and Diet Coke (5.20) Mr also had a glass of Chilean Ochagavia 1851 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva with his steak (£6.95). We had still water (£3.60) and a bottle of sparkling (£3.60).
Friday night is RnB night with the Resident DJ ‘Wonder K’ and this is the place to come and let your hair down after a long week in the City. As the hits started to spin so too did the clientele, loosening up their ties, shirts, and hips on the dance floor, choosing to eat generous bar snacks rather than a full-sit down meal.
Our waitress was Gabrielle and was fabulous – the service was quick and painless and all the waiting staff deserved a share of the optional service charge. The bill arrived in a volume of Crime and Punishment, which was ironic because I didn’t think it was punishing on the wallet at all. For four, minus the Mixology Class, the total was £212.40 (with service) and even better as I only had to cough up £12.40 – it was a generous prize. Would I return? Absolutely. I’d have no hesitation in recommending The Anthologist as a fun place with decent food and excellent cocktails right in the heart of the City.
Thanks to The Anthologist for a wonderful evening and for the generous raffle prize. The Anthologist, nearest tube – Bank or St Paul’s.
58 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7BB
0845 468 0101