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Fox & Anchor (Bar)

Picture of Fox & Anchor in Clerkenwell, London

15 Charterhouse Street, Farringdon, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 6AA
Cuisine: Gastro Average Price: £45.00
Tel: 020 7253 5075 | Email to Fox & Anchor | Transport: Barbican | Write review

Fox & Anchor Review

Venturing into the city for a bite to eat isn't something that excites me. Sitting down to dinner at a time when, seemingly, all of London's pinstriped office workers are intent on getting pissed, regardless of the fact that it's a school night, fills me with dread. Plus, where are all the ladies? Evenings out consist of row upon row of red faced men discussing football or the barmaid through inaudible murmurs and belly shaking laughter, in-between imagining what life would be like if they were Jeremy Clarkson. Please, someone tell me where all the women go when they leave the office. Back home? To the gym? Maybe for a cruise in a WI-sponsored blimp that tours London's central postcodes. No, I haven't seen that either. It really is a mystery.

Of course the lack of women drinking after work means that certain venues needn't cater for them. No jugs of cocktails at happy hour, no questionable music lifted from the 'Sex and the City' soundtrack and no need for cocky mixologists. One such venue that fully embraces a mono gender default and plays on it's masculine Victorian heritage is the Fox and Anchor. A small watering hole situated opposite London's historic Smithfields, it's the kind of place one can imagine the burly market workers of yesteryear entertaining their debauched tankard-fuelled recreations, accompanied by the areas questionable dollymops.
 
This pub is compact, but on a large scale. The high ceilings and dark wood interiors give the impression of grandeur while the actual logistics of navigating through such a narrow venue prove challenging; it's hard to pass from one end of the bar to the other without encountering the breathe, or belly or elbow of a post work patron. The pub does however have a small dining area situated at the the rear, away from the rowdy hustle of the main bar. It's made up of sectioned off tables and secluded candlelit seating arrangements, perfect for an intimate dinner date or a dangerous liaison.
 
The menu here is also compact and certainly adheres the Anchors masculine mentality. In fact, the pub's selling point is touted as 'Hops & Chops, Cuvees & Duvets'. The beer selection is indeed plentiful and the chops are a nod to a meat laden menu. As for the cuvee and duvet, well I'm sure you can imagine; The Fox & Anchor has 6 luxury suites that can be booked for those eager to get to the bedroom. Large portions of traditional pub food such as scampi, salt beef, and pie and mash predictably dominate the selection available at this pub. However, added surprises come in the form of rock oysters as an appetiser (a food that I'm sure is only described as an aphrodisiac because after eating the slimey morsale, everything else suddenly seems infinitely more palatable - bring on the duvets) and dishes that are punctuated with ingredients such as duck eggs, shallots and goose fat chips; a reflection perhaps or the social climbing tastes of the white collar masses.
 
I began my meal with steak tartare & fried bread, a perfectly seasoned dish that is also available as a main, although the portion presented as a starter was than suffice. The waitress appointed to our table then tried to tempt with the daily specials, but when pressed for details her knowledge of the food did seem to be all fur coat and no knickers. Apart from that, the service here was seamless and just the right amount of flirty - I imagine she gets a lot of practice with her usual punters, who no doubt, lap it up.

The carving trolley drew my eye and I was tempted momentarily, especially by the provocative description of it being served with 'lashings' of gravy. The idea of an S&M carvery briefly entered my mind, but I’m sure they just meant the meal was served with more gravy than you'd ever possibly need. Alternatively, a tart seemed like a tasty option; the one I choose was mushroom and cheddar - suitably moorish and the pastry was perfectly crisp and buttery - although the dish I was presented seemed to be more like a slice of quiche than what I had been promised on the menu; and I'm sure you'll agree that there's nothing worse than a tart that doesn't deliver.
 
Bringing up the rear was a desert selection that held little surprise, but the offerings fitted in well with the traditional feel of the menu. My dinner companion, a self confessed dessert fetishist, chose a sticky and sweet toffee pudding, within moments the plate was clear and a look of satisfaction spread across her face.
 
The Fox and Anchor must be doing something right and they certainly know their audience. They've been serving traders and market workers for more years than I can count and while the occupations of the clientele may have changed over time, their hearty and lustful, hunter-gatherer appetite for beers and man food hasn't waned. I'm sure that's why this discreet little boozer has proven so popular over the years and will continue to do so in years to come.
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Customer Reviews for Fox & Anchor

Average (based on 4 votes): 4 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Fox & Anchor.

“If your looking for a city breakfast in a real london pub then the fox and anchor is for you. Nestled within the heart of London the Fox and Anchor gives you a glimpse of the london that the guide book won't show you, perfect for breakfast or for an after work drink. Well worth the visit.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Social Eater, Tooting (6 years 4 months 10 days ago)

“One of the best pubs inlondon for a working lunch - a rustic menu and a great atmosphere make for a great gastro-esq pub.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
J.R. Smith, london (8 years 4 months 23 days ago)

“Long thin pub with a few little hiding places. Good for secret liaisons unless its lunchtime when every man and his junior exec come and have pie and mash. Good beer selection both on tap and in bottles.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Leigh, Tooting (8 years 5 months 29 days ago)

Show all user reviews for Fox & Anchor

“Bar staff are friendly and attentive. Food is generally pretty good, though my lamb shank pie (which was a very generous portion!) was cold in the middle, my colleague's Steak pie with oysters was fantastic. Unusual selection of beers, with Hellis (spelling?) being the standard on-tap lager which was quite nice. Excellent wine list, amusingly laid out (am I a toff or a luvvie? I thought neither!) This is a great bar, marred only by it's narrow-ness. Not a problem during lunchime, but when it gets busy it can be a bit unfomfortable as people squeeze past you to the toilet or trying to get out the door.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Rob, London (8 years 8 months 12 days ago)

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Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: Gastro
  • Average Price: £45.00
  • Dress Code: Not Specified
  • Group: Nicholson's

Fox & Anchor Food & Drinks

  • Cuisine Type: Gastro
  • Average Price: £45.00

Fox & Anchor Food Menu

The Fox & Anchor base their cooking on the philosophy of ‘simple food done well'. They use the finest local, seasonal ingredients which enable them to offer fantastic British food.

Updated 08/11/2008

Fox & Anchor Drinks Menu

Enjoy a foaming pint in a pewter tankard or sample some of their fine wines.

Updated 08/11/2008

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Venue ID: 2009

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