34 Park Street, Bankside, Southwark
London SE1 9EF
It is a large building
The Anchor is a historic pub located near Shakespeare’s Globe. It was cold outside and the pub looked nice from outside so we decided to try it despite knowing it is in a very touristic area… Inside, it was still nice and large too. The restaurant is located at the second level and the room isn’t that big compared to the rest of the pub.
As starters we ordered the spicy carrot and lentil soup served with half baguette and butter (£4.25) and a chicken liver and pancetta pâté served with toast and damson and elderflower chutney (£4.45). Other starters were the potted brown shrimps served with toasted fingers of bread (£4.85), the smoked scottish salmon served with toast and sour cream (£5.65) and the prawn cocktail (prawns in marie rose sauce served with toast, on a bed of salad – £5.65).
As main courses we chose the grilled seabass fillet (with sautéed Mediterranean vegetable couscous drizzled with herb olive oil – £12.75) and the baked cod fillet (wrapped in pancetta, served with seasonal vegetables and new potatoes, finished with herb olive oil – £12.75). Some other interesting main courses were the tornedo rossini 7oz fillet steack (£16.75) or the traditional steak and kidney pudding (£11.75). We also had a pint of Stella (£3.80) and a glass of water.
Chicken liver and pancetta pâté
The chicken liver and pancetta pâté was average and quite small/thin compared to many places I have been but also compared to the chutney. It looked more like a light mousse than a pâté, like if it was very processed. It tasted ok, not great but not bad either. The little slices of toast were good and served warm.
Spicy carrot and lentil soup
The soup was very poor – it was salty to the point it was inedible, and generally seemed like something that came out a can, had salt added, and then had been reheated 8 times. I would not have been surprised if my spoon could have stood up on its own in this muck. The bread it came with was fine – but the soup went back uneaten.
Baked cod fillet
The baked cod fillet was a little smelly (smelling fish, not the pancetta) but fortunately it was firm… It was a little overcooked and dry on the outside. It tasted mostly blend, despite the pancetta’s help. More sauce would have been welcome and ironically it needed more salt as well. The vegetables were good.
Grilled seabass fillet
The sea bass with couscous was also disappointing. The fish, whilst firm, had no seasoning at all and no flavour and had several burnt patches where it had got a bit close to the grill. It was a bit like eating cardboard (though it improved slightly after I added my own salt). The couscous also was poor – it had little flavour, except for that provided by a few bits of aubergine and rubbery mushrooms. Worse, it was swimming in a nasty olive oil that did little for the dish except make it greasy. Overall, a decided disappointment.
Before leaving the pub, we stopped by the bathroom. Finding it was easy – just follow the strong smell of urine. In the men’s bathroom, there were two cubicles and no light in them. Another client was complaining about it when I was there. I did not spend much time there since I am not good at holding my breath very long. A toilet should always be checked, it is not acceptable to have that kind of toilet in a restaurant.
Cost and conclusion: it was £38 and there is no service charge. They still charged for the soup despite the fact we did not touch it after a spoon of it. The service was ok, but the food was bad. Most of the clients there were tourists. This place is not going to improve the reputation of English food to say the least.