Kitchen open Mon—Thu 6pm—10pm, Fri—Sat midday—3pm and 6pm—10pm, Sun midday—9pm
One of the pubs one’s drawn to in the bleaker months, the Anglesea is all dark wood set off by the orange glow of the fire. There’s more wood panelling here than your average gentleman’s club—and by that I mean the ones with old duffers reminiscing over gin rather than the ones with pole dancers twerking.
Where the wood panelling stops, the exposed brick of the dining part of the pub starts. If you’re at a table there, you can marvel at the dizzying bustle in the exposed kitchen. Back in the pub there are Chesterfields to lounge in under lamps that look like they’ve been here for years. When a chill wind is blowing outside, it’s a cosy place to be.
No one I know has a bad word to say about the Anglesea. It’s been here for 150 years and smacks of a time when a pub and a corner shop was all you wanted in your neighbourhood. Certainly it’s well supported and is cheerfully popular on Guy Fawkes night. The surrounding houses are much sought-after (especially since predatory estate agents marketed it as Brackenbury Village) so the punters are mostly upwardly mobile and over 30. Given the lack of neon or burgers, the trendy youth are elsewhere.
People come here to taste the food, which is more restaurant quality than pub. Not a table was free by the time we got to dessert. Happily, seasonal sourcing turned out to be no idle boast, as venison and quince were both included on the menu. The waitress raved about the grain mustard cream with ham hock (£8.50), so we took the plunge, and what turned out to be posh mustardy mayo mixed well in the mouth with the meat.
More ambitious but less successful was a sardine, fennel and clementine salad (£8) which was fine but unremarkable. Pork belly (£16.50) suffered from a thin crackling that wasn’t quite snappy enough but brussel tops were a novel way of doing greens. My venison (£18.50) came two ways on the same plate and while the braised stuff was a pulled version of deer that was a bit dry, the roasted was a beautifully tender steak that was a little livery in texture. The accompanying red cabbage was also a delight.
Of the two desserts we had, the winner was the chocolate and dulce de leche Napoleon (£6), an amazing construction that was every bit as sweet and sugary as it sounds. Certainly, by pub standards, the food is very fine indeed.
The clientele are likely to be discerning about their wine and the list reflects that. Interesting stuff on the pumps included Kozel, Freedom and Meantime beers and the chalkboards are well worth checking for the visiting ales. If you’re in the neighbourhood, it’s not the sort of place you should pass up.