Sunday lunch at the Anchor and Hope, Waterloo

This is a place that I’ve been meaning to try… it’s supposed to be one of the best (and most low key) gastropubs in London, but serves some of London’s best food. And, as it was started by people that were previously at St. John’s, you can apparently get served all sorts of different animal bits.

So when my friend Michelle asked me to come along for a Sunday lunch with her and her family, I jumped at the opportunity. On Sundays, there is one sitting for lunch at 2pm, and a set menu (for GBP 30!) for the table.

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As family members arrived bit by bit, we sat and looked over at the kitchen, as they prepared the first course. Oh, and started off on the bread at the table, adding creamy butter and some salt and pepper! And check out how the restaurant uses tiles as pot holders… What a cool idea.

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The first course of the menu was leeks with a salsify vinaigrette, shrimp and almonds (I thought that the almonds were actually fried slivers of garlic, they were so tasty!). The leeks were perfectly braised, and the vinaigrette had the right amount of Dijon mustard to create a light but tart cover. And the baby shrimp and almonds gave a good flavour and crunch.

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Then, the cassoulet came out. The duck and pork cassoulet was quite impressive… with pork belly, duck neck, livers and hearts, along with the larger pieces of each animal. When they first brought the dishes out, I was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough for all seven of us… then, we ended up leaving about a third of the cassoulet on the table as we were all stuffed! The meat was delicious and tender, the flagolet beans were perfectly tender and seasoned… the whole dish was perfect. I had thirds. Then a tiny bit more duck.

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For dessert, a pannacotta was served with stewed rhubarb and strawberries. The dollops of pannacotta were quite generous, but were perfect with a sweet, tart side of fruits. At this point, we were all feeling full, and just barely finished!

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On the side, we had some great wines and champagne. As we had Michelle’s brother-in-law with us, we didn’t need any recommendations… the Alsacian white and Southwestern red he chose both worked perfectly with the meal. What a treat for lunch, thank you, Michelle, and here’s to a great year!

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