The Fox & Anchor / Smithfield's, London


Having suffered an Episode One of a let down at Longroom, we strolled a little ways down the street to somewhere we'd attempted (and failed) to eat before without a reservation on a Friday lunchtime.

The impressive old stone building has been lovingly crafted into a homage to its late Victorian self. The facade is grandiose, with ye olde beer kegs guarding the chunky, dark mahogany doors that lead you into a dark wooded, stained glassed, ornately tin ceiling tiled pub. A decorative wooden bar, impressive brass fittings and all. With Jeroboams and Balthazars littering the shelves, it's like a Samuel Smith's for those who like a dram of 17 year old malt with their cigar. Full of chaps who wouldn't dare wear brown in town.

It's a pub in a loose sense of the term. Sure, there's a bar with a couple of stools by it and some perch space at the front. But for the most part if you're sitting you're eating here: The main part of the bar hosting convetional tables, whereas a back room hosts some devous little snugs to hide away and get sloshed in. We cracked on, grabbed a spare table and ordered a couple of Smithfield burgers, all the while ogling the meat carving of the daily roast occurring feet away. Next time...

Waiting for our burgers, our animated discussions about the oeuvre of Jason Statham seemed to get the occasional disapproving look from our pinstriped dining partners. Space is at a premium here so you'll be enjoying your neighbour's conversation whether you want to or not. We thought ours was helpful. And yes, you should go and see Fast Six.

And then, a beautifully bunned specimen hit our table. Upon chomping, the bun was a croissant-like soft, almost flaky layered, sweet number. It contained a huge bastard of a patty, slightly over done for the medium we'd requested and compacted rather tightly. That meant juice was at a minimum, so yes, it was a tad dry. Thanksfully the full-bodied mayo which had hints of the bearnaise and dijon mustard about it kept things from getting too arid.

The sweet 'n savoury combinations were quite novel. We didn't have to reach for the ketchup. The side dish of extra condiment helped with the burger, and was a lovely accompaniment to the abundant thick bricks of roasty-like chips that came with, all served up in a cone of faux-newspaper.

It was an appreciated effort which, after the shitshow we had experienced earlier, really hit the spot. Worth a shot.

  • Rob & Simon.
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