The search was on to find a restaurant open on Sunday evening to give Trig, a fellow London food blogger, a final send off. We had hoped to go to Portal, the Portuguese restaurant on St John St. Sadly that was closed as are most places in London at that time. In the end I narrowed it down to Wild Honey and Angelus. I'd heard about the latter's foie gras creme brulee, so that was that, we were off to a restaurant named after James Bond's favourite wine or perhaps just the Latin for 'angel' (again, a Latin/religious name for a restaurant).
The restaurant feels old-school French - dark paneling, art nouveau on the walls, staff dressed formally. It feels quite relaxed though, as well it should on a Sunday. The proprietor Thierry Tomasin, used to be manage Le Gavroche and before that was sommelier at Aubergine. The menu has a choice of eight or so starters, all at under £10 and a similar number of mains, most in their late teens. The menu descriptions are somewhat badly translated - or maybe it's just that they think English readers don't need as much detail. Many dishes have a slight global slant with minor ingredients sourced from diverse cuisines.
I had the aforementioned savoury brulee, three of us had sardines with a goats cheese and tapenade terrine. Ben had crab in aspic withe a layer of guacamole - rather similar to a dish we had a L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon around this time last year. The brulee is very light, almost a mousse, the topping is only vaguely sweet, poppy seeds being mostly noticeable with grains of salt. I really enjoyed this. Good toast too with it too.
It was hard not to choose the rabbit, foie gras and vintage port pie. I somehow persuaded myself that I shouldn't have another foie dish so soon. Anyway, there was the Anjou pigeon on offer too and I'd heard this was good. This came with salsify wrapped in pancetta, a paste of the bird's liver with a healthy mustard kick came on a small roundel of toast. The pigeon had been perfectly roasted, not a hint of dryness, perfectly pink. This successfully staved off dish envy even as Ben sang the glories of his pie, declaring it was almost as rich as grouse.
I skipped dessert, but some of the table ordered the 'panna cotta'. There was, in fact, no gelatin in this, which you might have guessed if you read the french description. A small glass of jellied sangria accompanied this and there were murmers of general satisfaction.
The wine list is strong on French wines and good value among the regions with many bottles around the £30 mark. We shared two bottles of Sancerre, a bottle of Gigondas and a wonderful bottle of 1995 Coteaux du Layon. With bottled water and service this came to around £65 a head.
Angelus is a good addition to London and it's a style of cuisine I warm to. It probably won't make as many waves as similarly priced mid-range restaurants such as Magdalen and Arbutus, perhaps because it's pretty much a straight French bistro, rather than somewhere with an English accent.
Aidan's off to Barcelona, for an exciting start to his career as a chef. He hopes to keep blogging. Best of luck, Trig, and bom apetite!
Angelus, 4 Bathurst Street, W2 020 7402 0083