Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Basket Case

I am a big fan of The Fox and Anchor gastropub in Smithfield as they always have great beers on tap, the food is good, the staff are friendly and the decor exudes a wonderful olde worlde charm with it's snugs, nooks and crannies. All in all a great formula really. And as it's close to where I work, I frequent the place a fair bit. Be it for lunch, some post-work lubrication and.....oh what the hell, sometimes for a sneaky one at breakfast time. But before you cast any aspersions, let me just say that early morning imbibing is part and parcel of life in this part of London. The butchers and porters of Smithfield meat market put in a hard, hard days work well before the rest of the city wakes up and sets their wavering, meandering toes on cold carpets. So we deserve a pint in the morning and I say 'we' because I start work at 6:30AM so that qualifies me, OK? Flagrant denials aside, a pilgrimage to EC1 to undertake The Fox and Anchor's massive City Boy Breakfast is a must. Simply because it is really very good indeed. Just make sure you free up a couple of hours afterwards to digest the plethora of meat before trying to exit the building. So yes I like this place. A lot.

The Fox and Anchor City Boy Breakfast (photo courtesy of Essex Eating)

If I had any gripes it would be that the pub is far too narrow in places which to my mind makes it a haven for frottaging and just lately I've started to notice a slightly gimmicky element with the presentation of their food. Which may well have been there all along but on my last visit I was piqued just a tad. I went last Friday to meet the very mysterious Uncle Ji for a long overdue WMPC swap (post to come shortly, well maybe in a month or two) and ordered chish and fips, what with it being a Friday and all. And when it arrived, it all looked delightful. Firm, crisp beer batter surrounding a moist, generous portion of cod, chunky triple cooked chips and a lovely dollop of mushy peas with a healthy boat of tartare sauce. Fantastic. Except the chish and fips came served up in a frying basket. Now I am not a delicate diner at the best of times, yet mindful that I was eating with a stranger I did try my best to put on some airs and graces. However the basket did not allow this. In fact trying to deconstruct my lunch with arms shortened and wrists pointed in a curious downward fashion felt very odd indeed. It was as if I had been reduced to some kind of Tyrannosaurus Rex picking up cutlery for the very first time. After a few minutes of preening and prodding and pinging of said knife and fork onto the floor, I gave up and emptied the whole lot onto the plate, casually throwing the basket over my shoulder. I say that the Fox and Anchor could do without this kind of nonsense and frippery and in future would do well to serve their delicious fare straight up on plates. It would certainly save on the washing up. So please, no more baskets and if you could widen the room just a touch, it would be much appreciated.

That is all.


Fish and Chips in a basket (when it could be on a plate)

15 comments:

meemalee said...

I rather like stuff served in stupid things, but I can see how it might get on your t*ts after a while :)

catty said...

Hehe i think the basket LOOKS kinda groovy but yes, totally impractical. maybe they always meant for you to tip it onto the plate anyways.

Craftilicious said...

I'm surprised the basket lasted as long as it did! Interesting plating has its place - a traditional pub isn't the place for it at all!

Food Urchin said...

meemalee - actually I was impressed at first but then the eating part got delayed and I hate eating getting delayed

catty - and take up the space on the table? this is madness you talk of (though possibly this was the intention)

Craftilicious - I feel bad for throwing the basket at the barman's head now.

@LucMartin said...

On the list of new words i have learned from reading FU posts, i can now add Frottaging

Food Urchin said...

Luc Martin - actually the more I think about it, the width of the pub isn't so much an issue

Pavel said...

FIPS IN A BASKET? Not on my watch! This tomfoolery must be stopped :^)

meemalee said...

If you'd mashed the basket onto the mushy peas, you could have made oozey peas - like Play-Doh hair.

Luc, everyone loves a good frot :P

Gin and Crumpets said...

I quite likes the fish and chips being in a basket, but then I am a sucker for novelty.

MeLikeyUK said...

Wow! The portions look enormous but I can see how the impracticalities of the basket could prevent you from enjoying your food!

Dan said...

Nice photo of the city boy breakfast there :)
I'd like to point out I was there when this breakfast was eaten. It was pretty damn nice, and comes with a pint of porter in a silver tankard. Huzzah!!! I wasn't quite sure that drinking beer with breakfast was actually for me. But now I've tried it on for size. I find it fits well.
BTW - that fish & chips in a basket is ridiculously impractical.

Food Urchin said...

Pavel - Aye noon of that fancy stoof 'ere (that was supposed to read as a Yorkshire accent btw)

MiMi - how many times have I told you about playing with your food?

Gin and Crumpets - you like the idea of baskets? whatchootalkinboutsucka?

MeLikeyUK - anything that gets in the way of me IMMEDIATELY enjoying my food gets a black mark

Dan - Yes I should have added that you were also there when we tried the mammouth City Boy brekkie? Didn't you say afterwards that some little pots of jam wouldn't go amiss. You bloater

gastrogeek said...

Ace write up as always, I know what you mean about the width of the place (even for someone as weeny as me!)

London Lady said...

I think the fish and chips in the basket is a good idea. I like to lie to myself and think that fish and potatoes can be healthy and when served in something that shows the amount of oil oozing out of the food once it is fried makes it had to do that.

Barton said...

why do all these places want some stupid gimmick? Why not make the tables deep fryers? Actually stumbled into a place like that in japan. So gross