Birthday weekends are for eating too much, if you ask me, so with two birthdays to celebrate last weekend (mine, and my fiance’s best friend), we decided to head to Anderson’s Bar & Grill to eat lots of delicious steak.
Anderson’s is tucked away under St Paul’s Square, in eighteenth century cellars. With vaulted ceilings, exposed brick and well spaced out tables, Anderson’s feels modern, welcoming and a little bit special. I always get distracted by the fridge full of huge hunks of beef that you pass on the way in. It’s nice to see the meat shown off, with clear pride in their ingredients.
Several tables are tucked away into alcoves, with options for intimate date night, and for larger groups, so you can make as much racket as you like without disturbing your fellow diners. It’s clearly a popular spot for celebrating too; I lost count of the number of birthday candles I saw emerging from the kitchen, and the couple behind us were celebrating an anniversary.
wine and cocktails
The boys weren’t drinking (one for driving and one for hangover reasons), so I took on the task of investigating the wine list alone. A glass of Elementos Shiraz Malbec (£4.85) was full of juicy fruit flavours, and was the perfect friend for my steak.
I also couldn’t resist an Espresso Martini with dessert. The first Espresso Martini I ever tried was actually at Anderson’s, and basically, there’s a reason it started off my obsession. It’s easily one of the best in the city; plenty of actual coffee flavour with gentle background sweetness.
Steak, steak and more steak
We kicked off with Baked Rustic Breads with Roast Garlic (£2.95) and Marinated Whole Green and Black Olives (£3.50) to share while we waited for starters. The bread was still warm when it hit the table, and the roast garlic was perfection. Deep and sweet and so soft you could spread it on the bread. Given the choice, I’d have swapped the garlic olive oil for oil and balsamic, but then it’s a favourite of mine, and it was a bit garlic overload when paired with the roast garlic. The olives were plump and salty, and very tasty.
To start, I opted for Seared Sashimi Tuna (£7.95) with black sesame, wasabi mayonnaise, pickled cucumber, pickled ginger and soy dressing. Fat slices of tuna were full of rich flavour, and the fish was clearly beautiful quality. The zingy pickled cucumber was an excellent accompaniment, and the whole thing made for a great, light start before the red meat fest to follow.
Dave went for Slow Roast Belly of Pork (£6.95) with a sticky chilli and honey glaze and toasted sesame. The pork had a good thick layer of crackling, with the meat below left full of moisture. The honey glaze was delicious, with a subtle chilli kick to cut through the sweetness.
For mains, I went for Anderson’s Surf and Turf (£20.95 with a 6oz steak, £25.95 with 8oz), which is made up of a sirloin steak, roast Monkfish wrapped in pancetta and poached scallop. The monkfish was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. The added pancetta had leaked salty, meaty deliciousness into the robust fish. The scallop was tender as can be, and the steak was cooked to perfection. I like it medium rare, and this was pink in the centre without a hint of leaked juice.
Dave tried the 10oz Shorthorn Fillet on the Bone (£22.95), which was a gorgeous slab of meat. Again, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and was juicy and tasty. The three of us shared a dish of Chips, Potatoes of the Day, and Green Beans. I skipped most of the potato, but the chip I nibbled was fluffy in the centre and crisp outside, and the beans had hung onto plenty of crunch, and were so drowned in garlic butter even our vegetable-dodging friend enjoyed them.
I hadn’t planned on ordering dessert, but the nice people at Anderson’s had obviously been told we were celebrating, as a mystery dessert appeared with a birthday greeting in chocolate. I’m pretty sure it was their White Chocolate Cheesecake (£6.95), which is a deconstructed cheesecake topped with pistachio. It was very tasty, but rich, and I only managed about half of it, alongside the dessert cocktail I had actually ordered.
Anderson’s staff know their stuff. Everybody we dealt with was friendly, and the touch of the birthday dessert was a lovely surprise. If anything, and it’s an odd complaint, we found them a touch over attentive. We were often checked on by multiple staff during a single course, and when the table was cleared, we kept losing things we weren’t actually done with. Half a dish of olives vanished with our empty starter plates (annoying when you’ve paid for them), and the boys both lost their water glasses before dessert arrived as mains were cleared away.
I always enjoy Anderson’s and for occasion dining like a birthday, it’s a great treat without being too expensive. I even converted the two northerners to it.
We paid in full for our meals, and didn’t tell them I was a blogger. All prices correct at time of writing. All words, opinions and images are my own.