Hope and Anchor

September 24, 2016 at 10:42 am | Posted in Cocktail Bar, Restaurants | 1 Comment
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Did you know that Anchorage in West One Plaza is being relaunched? We’re talking a new interior, new menu and even a new name.

This was news to me, as a few weeks ago I popped into Anchorage for Sunday lunch and everything seemed normal, but then I walked past a few days later and the whole place was shut up, with a new sign hanging above the door. Apparently Anchorage is no more – say hello to Hope and Anchor.

I have to say, the last few times I visited Anchorage I wasn’t completely wowed by the menu. I initially fell in love with Anchorage for their amazing tuna niçoise, and a friend of mine still raves about the hanger steak Anchorage used to serve when they first opened. Sadly, both of these meals vanished from the menu at some point, and Anchorage never replaced them with anything that quite lived up to those two great meals – so perhaps it was time time for a change!

This post is going to be a bit different from the usual, as I was invited to a preview of Hope and Anchor’s upcoming menu, which involved eating lots of scaled-down, canapé versions of their mains and light bites, rather than ordering off the regular menu.  

I didn’t even plan on blogging about this event, but after going through all my photos from the night I realised this was actually a pretty good introduction to Hope and Anchor, so I wanted to do more than just share a few snaps on Twitter. Hopefully, these little snippets will help you decide whether you want to try out Hope and Anchor’s menu for yourself.

When we visited, Hope and Anchor were still midway through revamping the interior, but it was already clear that the new, darker colour scheme makes the venue feel much cosier. It reminded me a lot of sister venue the Wick at Both Ends, which to me has always felt like the perfect autumn pub. I can picture myself enjoying some mulled wine or cider in Hope and Anchor once the cold weather starts to set in.

hope-and-anchor

Hope and Anchor’s menu seems to be about providing as much choice as possible, as you can order every main course as either a fully-fledged main or as a smaller “light bite” if you’re not that hungry. You can also order any of Hope and Anchor’s light bites individually as a snack or starter, or you can order several light bites and create your own tapas-style spread (3 for £10, or 5 for £15).

Over the course of a few hours, I got to sample canapé versions of several of Hope and Anchor’s light bites and mains. While this means I didn’t get to try anything off the menu as you’d typically experience it, it did give me a good overview of what Hope and Anchor’s menu is all about.

First up, was a sample of one of Hope and Anchor’s light bites: celeriac pakora, apple and mango chutney (£3.50).

celeriac-pakora-apple-and-mango-chutney

Just a few weeks ago I had the best celeriac mash at Napoleons, so I was excited to see another place embracing my new favourite vegetable. Hope and Anchor’s mini celeriac pakoras didn’t disappoint, as they were packed with flavour. I also loved the accompanying sweet, sticky mango chutney which complimented the nuttiness of the celeriac pakoras perfectly. I definitely want to try the full-sized version of this!

The second light bite was bresaola, fig chutney, and hazelnut dressing (£5).

bresaola

I’d never heard of bresaola before, but turns out it’s air-dried, salted beef. I don’t eat meat, but my dining companion said they enjoyed the bresaola, although they weren’t overly keen on the fig chutney, which was a bit too sweet for their liking.

Onto the mains, and I got to sample a mini portion of fish and chips (well, technically just the fish part of fish and chips) which was served with pea purée and tartar sauce (£10.95).

fish-chips-pea-puree-tartar-sauce

I’m not usually a massive fan of battered fish, so I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy this – turns out I loved it! The batter was light and grease-free, which is always a plus as there’s nothing worse than wet, slimy batter.

The piece of fish inside the batter was also pretty much spot on – tender, meaty and very tasty. This canapé was finished off with a dollop of pea purée, which had one of the most intense pea flavours I’ve ever experienced, and was all kinds of delicious.

When I’m handed a menu, fish and chips is typically the last thing I want to order, and even when I treat myself to chippy tea it’s all about the chips and curry sauce, hold the battered cod. However I enjoyed this taster of Hope and Anchor’s fish and chips so much, that I wouldn’t rule out ordering the full version of this at some point in the future.

The next main was one of Hope and Anchor’s veggie-friendly options: roast sweet potato, apple, brie stack, cauliflower and romesco sauce (£12).

roast-sweet-potato-apple-brie-stack

Unlike the fish and chips, this sounded like something I’d definitely order, but it actually turned out to be my least favourite out of everything I got to sample, as all I could taste was sweet potato. I struggled to find any hint of the brie, apple or romesco sauce, which was a shame because this combination of flavours sounds like perfection! It’s possible that this main just didn’t translate properly to miniature, and the ratio of ingredients was off, so I’d be willing to give this another go. 

Jumping from the veggie-friendly option to something that’s definitely not veggie-friendly: the rib eye steak and mushroom ketchup, which according to the menu is usually accompanied by chips, baby gem and roast tomato (£22).

rib-eye-steak-mushroom-ketchup

If you like your meat on the rarer side, then this steak was perfection – juicy, tender and very pink in the middle. The mushroom ketchup had a really earthy, concentrated mushroom flavour, which you’re either going to love or hate.

But I’ve saved the best until last: blackened cod with giant couscous and pak choi (£12.95).

blackened-cod

This was amazing! The blackened cod had a smoky, almost charcoal flavour that had me craving more from the very first bite, and was served on a bed of giant couscous.

I’m a massive fan of all things grain and grain-like: couscous, quinoa, rice, bulgur, orzo, I love it all, so I was always going to enjoy this. The person I was dining with is the exact opposite: they hate couscous, to the point where initially they didn’t even want to try the blackened cod. However, this taster completely changed their mind, to the point where they said this was something they’d choose to order!

You know a meal is good when it manages to win over someone who was expecting to hate it.

Looking beyond this selection of mains and light bites, Hope and Anchor’s menu includes quite a few other things that I can’t wait to try: goat’s cheese risotto; seafood linguine with market fish, shrimp and clams; rice pudding with stewed autumn fruits, and a baked blackberry cheesecake with poached apples. Don’t those two desserts just sound like the perfect winter warmers?

While it’s difficult to judge a restaurant based on what’s essentially canapés, I left Hope and Anchor convinced that I need to return and try the new menu properly. This menu seems like a huge improvement on Anchorage’s last few menus, although I am a bit sad that Anchorage’s Mac and Cheese burger hasn’t survived the transition to Hope and Anchor.

All in all, an exciting peek into a new(ish) restaurant, and I can’t wait to experience a few of my favourite canapés in their full-sized glory – starting of course with that blackened cod and giant couscous!

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Anchorage: Spring/Summer Menu

April 18, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 1 Comment
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I’ve pretty much fallen in love with Anchorage over the last couple of weeks following a string of amazing meals there.

On my last visit, I had one of the best vegetarian Sunday lunches I’ve ever eaten, and my friend had a hanger steak they’re still talking about weeks later. So when I heard Anchorage were releasing a new spring/summer menu, I had high hopes.

Anchorage’s menu is “East Coast” inspired, so the food has an American feel. They also offer a “build it yourself” meat and cheese platter, where you get to choose exactly which cured meats and cheeses you want. Doesn’t a bottle of wine and a build your own cheese platter sound like the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon? Yet another reason to look forward to summer!

But today wasn’t the day to eat cheese and drink wine, I was here to sample Anchorage’s new menu – and drink wine.

anchorage wine

Since it was early on a Wednesday afternoon, I was sensible and resisted Anchorage’s cocktail menu, but if you’re in the mood for a cocktail then I highly recommend their dirty martini (£8).

I’m not usually a fan of martinis as I always feel like they’re burning my taste buds off, but Anchorage’s martinis are smooth and dangerously easy drinking. Plus each dirty martini comes with a side of strong blue cheese, so it’s a drink and a snack!

anchorage martini

After taking a look through Anchorage’s new menu, I opted for the 6oz Tuna Nicoise steak, which came with green beans, egg, olive, anchovy and tomatoes (£15).

anchorage tuna steak

The 6oz tuna steak looked incredible – and it tasted every bit as good as it looked. The tuna was delicately cooked, so it was still juicy and pink on the inside, and it was heavily seasoned with lots of salt, so every bite was packed with flavour.

Just how good was the tuna steak? Well, since my visit to Anchorage I’ve found myself craving tuna and cooking it at home at least a couple of times a week. Anchorage has single-handedly got me hooked on tuna steaks!

The tuna came with a long list of added extras, including sun dried tomatoes and a breadcrumb-covered egg. Beneath the light breadcrumb coating, the egg yolk had just the right amount of runniness. I wish I could cook eggs this perfectly!

My tuna also came with a salad of lettuce, green apple, and pear. The pear slices were melt-in-the-mouth ripe, and were a nice contrast to the crispness of the green apple. This isn’t your typical boring salad of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes! Why can’t all salads be this good?

The tuna also came with a handful of walnuts, which turned out to be the most unusual and interesting part of the meal. Some of the walnuts had a tart, vinegary flavour, as though they’d been pickled, while others were crunchy and sweet. Whenever I picked up a walnut, I had no idea whether I was going to get sweet or sour.

The whole thing was finished off with fancy swirls and dollops of different purees and mousses, which brought even more flavours into the mix.

If you have a passion for new and interesting flavours, then Anchorage’s tuna steak is your perfect meal. After wolfing down the delicious steak, I thought the best part was over – but then I moved onto the different accompaniments, and every forkful was something new and interesting.

At £15, this tuna steak is at the top end of Anchorage’s menu, but it’s worth every penny. I can’t think of one negative thing to say about my meal – it was perfect.

Also arriving at our table was the Amish Chicken (£13) which promised half a chicken served with cream sauce, whipped potatoes and green beans.

When Anchorage say half a chicken, they mean half a chicken.

amish chicken

Even the photo doesn’t do justice to just how much chicken was on the plate. This is one of those mountains of food where no matter how much you eat, you never really seem to make a dent in it.

As if half of the world’s biggest chicken wasn’t enough, this meal comes with a super-sized portion of rich and creamy mashed potato.

Only order Anchorage’s Amish chicken if you’re seriously hungry – you’ve been warned!

After our massive main meals, we didn’t have room for pudding, so we wrapped up our Anchorage experience with a round of lattes.

anchorage coffee

Anchorage’s coffees are beautifully presented, with a few sugar cubes and a bourbon biscuit on the side. If you don’t have room for pudding, then this is the perfect way to end your meal.

I’ve never had a bad meal at Anchorage, and their new menu continues this tradition. The tuna steak is perfect for an adventurous eater, and the Amish chicken is guaranteed to leave you stuffed.

While looking through the new menu, I spotted a few more things I’m eager to try, so I’ll definitely be returning to Anchorage again soon. And of course, as soon as the sun comes out I’ll be treating myself to that long-awaited Anchorage cheese platter and glass (bottle…) of wine!

5-stars

Revolution

August 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 2 Comments
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Located in the snazzy West One Plaza, Revolution may make you think of vodka shots (in thirty homemade flavours, no less) rather than food, but one look at the menu shows Revolution have some serious food ambitions. Sunblushed tomato, asparagus and pea linguine, summer mezze board platters, and plenty of pricey tapas – no bargain beer and a burger deals here! So, keeping an open mind, we headed to Revolution for a midweek treat (and a few midweek voddies, of course!)

Inside, Revolution Sheffield is an aircraft hanger of a place, with floor-to-ceiling windows, shiny wooden surfaces, oceans of room between the assorted tables and booths, and an ultra-modern bar of LED lights and glittering booze-bottles. Decor-wise, it feels like a trendy nightclub – not your usual venue for a spot of supper. Keeping an open mind, we settled into a booth and ordered a round of mojitos (£6.50) which tasted too much of soda water, but we ploughed ahead, slurped down our cocktails and ordered some tapas to start: homemade potato wedges with dips (£4.95.)

The chunky potato wedges arrived with the skins on, just the way we like them, but the accompanying sour cream dip was strangely runny and tasteless – disappointing. Thankfully, Revolution redeemed themselves with the sweet chilli dip, which had a fierce kick. As a spice fan, I scrubbed the sweet chilli bowl clean, but if you can’t take the heat you might find the sweet chilli dip a painful ordeal.

Appetites duly piqued, we wasted no time ordering our mains, which arrived in double-quick time. My Salmon and King Prawn Linguine (£8.95) looked promising, as I was presented with a bowl full of linguine and creamy sauce, topped with a generous portion of smoked salmon.

The white sauce was refreshingly light without skimping on taste and, mixed up with a forkful of linguine and assorted veg (firm asparagus, fiery rocket and peas to be precise) it was delicious. The smoked salmon was the highlight for me, delivering a hit of seriously strong, salty deliciousness, but I was disappointed by how overcooked the king prawns were.

On the whole, a flavour-packed dish of perfectly-cooked veggies, a light but tasty sauce, and plenty of seafood, although at £8.95 Revolution are definitely being cheeky with their prices. To put it into perspective, my linguine was roughly the same price as a vegetarian pasta dish or Spaghetti Ragu at Strada.

Since we were in a vodka bar, we just had to sample Revolution’s special vodka glaze, and ordered the intriguing Revolution Vodka Pizza (£7.95). This thin and crispy pizza wasn’t mean with the toppings: chorizo, goat’s cheese and mozzarella with sweet chilli peppers, fresh rocket and the aforementioned vodka-glazed chicken, finished off with a drizzle of tart balsamic vinegar. Thin pizzas are easy to overcook, but the Revolution staff avoided this pitfall and sent out a perfect thin and crispy pizza. The vinegar drizzle in particular was a clever touch, giving the pizza extra bite.

Which brings us neatly onto the bill, and our major issue with Revolution – the price. Not only is the food expensive, but the steep booze prices bump up the bill even further. Even if you stick to pints all night, expect to feel the pinch. The surroundings are top-notch and the food is tasty with a few quirky options on the menu and quality ingredients used throughout, but there’s no escaping the fact that Revolution feels like the sort of place you’d pop into for a bite to eat on a whim, rather than somewhere you’d book in advance and look forward to – and the prices don’t reflect that. Good food, modern surroundings, but ultimately, the cheque was a bit of a stinger!

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