March 19, 2012

Angel and Crown, London

By Andrew In Reviews
The Angel and Crown brought to mind that rather excellent little restaurant in Dublin I wore an iron-burnt black shirt to last year. (The shirt has no relevance to anything I should add). Like the Winding Stair a narrow climb leads you to the dining rooms on upper floors. The décor is similar, less of a book theme in the Angel and Crown, but still ‘shabby chic’ with Georgian period features. The Angel is small, intimate almost, and at street level distinctly pubby. Nice that they have managed to reinvigorate such a lovely old building mind; but not without cost and troubles by all accounts.

The pub downstairs is all hanging tankards, antlers and pints. Although, this technically being Covent Garden, there is a wine list and cocktails. It just didn’t seem right though drinking a poncy-glassed cocktail in a pub. While the on-tap beers were tempting a class of the house red was ordered (with a wine tasting that morning under my belt, I felt mixing ones drinks would have been a little risky).
A couple of frantic “I’m so lost” texts from Dougie Boy passed the moments until he tripped through the door. Late, but only marginally so. Just glad he turned up at all to be honest, for I do so detest eating alone…

And eat we did.

To start – potted Dorset Crab with Melba Toast (£7) and Salt Beef Croquettes with Sauce Gribiche (£7) (which is a tarragon, chervil, caper, egg mix in a mayonnaise). While Dougie-boy commented(?) criticised(?) the croquettes for tasting like corned beef I was wondering if their powerful flavour could have benefited from a touch more oomph from the sauce. A little more vinegar, a few more chopped capers? What they certainly did have was a substantial size. I enjoy a decent croquette. I tasted Dougie-boys Crab dish, handsomely presented in a lidded jar. It was deeply flavoursome and nicely textured, nice, but then I’m not the greatest fan of crab.

The mains – I was a touch full at this point I have to admit. Usually lunch doesn’t amount to much; the addition of a third croquette would have probably sufficed. But I ordered a burger and chips (£13). It was huge. Certainly, as we discussed, the portion sizes, the style of cooking and the ingredients have a masculine feel. On the other side of the cruets a nice fillet of Smoked Scottish Salmon sidled up to a mound of broccoli surrounded with a few crayfish in sorrel butter (£15). Did I mention the burger was on the large side? Plenty of melted cheese, a rasher of bacon, some pickles (which again lacked a sort-for crunch and flavour bite) and, after inspecting the photograph, a little tomato salsa (?) which lacked in flavour. The chunk of meat cooked so it was vibrantly pink in the middle and slightly charred on the exterior. Lovely. Dougie-boy also ordered some onion-rings but didn’t eat them. They were a rather pretzel-like colour. I rather enjoyed them. I ate all the burger, plus a majority of the chips and several of the onion rings.

Dessert – Cashel Blue Cheese with a truffled honey dip on the tables far side while on my place-mat a slice of Lemon Tart. Texture-wise lovely but could have done with a smidgeon more zesty lemonness. More zip and nerve required. All desserts come in at £5.

The wine – The class of house red was fine (£4.10 for 175ml glass); an easy drinking blend of Cabernet-Syrah-Grenache, with a little tannin holding it all together in a ‘can be drunk with food’ type way. With the meal a delectable bottle of Priorat from Spain – Zeta Priorat 2007 [Adegga / Snooth] (a fine blend of Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon, £39). Not sure how well it accompanied the salmon but it leant a certain refinement to the ‘lightly toasted sesame brioche’ encased burger.

For more on the Angel and Crown do have a read of Cooksisters ‘bloggers sampling visit’.

This was a complimentary meal as part of research for a Via Michelin article I need to get written pdq!

Angel and Crown, 58 St. Martins Lane, London

As an update, a link to an interview with the owners that details the state of the property when they first took it on.

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  1. Jeanne @ CookSister! March 19, 2012

    Aaah, I do like the Angel & Crown… Interesting what you say about the masculinity of the cooking – that’s exactly what I thought when I visited. And if you thought your burger was big, you should have seen the size of the game bird pie I had when I visited! We had different onion rings though – I swear ours had poppy seeds in the batter and they were utterly 100% addictive. Portions are very generous and overall I would definitely go back. Some lovely shots…

    • Andrew March 19, 2012

      Indeed I do think the onion rings had poppy seeds in, rather tasty I thought despite the colour (double fried?) Was quite pleased with the photo results…


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