When I moved to London 6 years ago (snobby from a while in New York), I was loudly complaining to my sister on the tube about how bad the food in this city is. In the first and last time over my 6 year stint here that someone would ever speak to me spontaneously on the tube, the gent next to me got offended at my comment and rattled off a list of restaurants. On its head (and I still have the note on my phone) was the Anchor and Hope. In those 6 years, it has probably been the restaurant I have visited the most in this city; it's where I take a date I want to impress or a visitor from out of town, or, if I'm in the mood, where I stroll over to for a lovely quiet lunch if it's sunny.
The downsides; for the uninitiated, getting a table is a bit tricky, especially when it's busy, and this is not a staff that will kiss your butt.
It is also, on a whole, way too loud for me.
However, I have never left a meal unsatisfied.
I will list some of the dishes that jump in my memory.
The slow-cooked shoulder of lamb for 3 with gratin and all the trimmings.
The pigeon pie.
The rabbit leg with a mustard sauce.
The skate, in all its permutations.
The pig cheeks in broth, with chips and aioli.
The whole roast rabbit.
The snail and bacon salad.
The red mullet.
and oh, that spectacular cheesecake, dusted with poppy seeds and a lovely raspberry reduction on the side.
add to this a truly thought through wine menu that is competitively priced for London standards, and you have, as the stranger on the tube insisted, a very excellent restaurant! Modern European cuisine with a British twist and great ingredients. What more could you want out of a pub.