Crack open that menu and you may find that London’s restaurants are swimming in anchovies. The often tinned, frequently marinated and saltily brined silvery-blue little fish are prized on the continent but often overlooked here. Mistake: bunged on the grill, plonked on a pizza, they add an extra dimension. Their recent rise in popularity shouldn’t be too much of a surprise – with the continued popularity of unfussy food and since TikTok keeps trying to make ‘tinned fish date night’ happen. We reckon that anchovies, whether an intrinsic part of a dish or a sneaky (but impactful) addition to sauces and seasonings, are quickly becoming the fish du jour in the city. Maybe it’s time to rediscover this divisive but delicious fishy? Here’s where.
One of our favourite dishes at natural wine bar and wood-fired grill spot Elliot’s is their Cantabrian anchovy toast – meaty, salty slices of fish over humps of butter on toast. Simple done really well.
Assemble your own burro e acciughe at Brutto with Sicilian anchovies, cold butter curls and St John sourdough. A Florentine classic at London’s own Florentine trattoria.
Deep fry anything and you’ve got a winner, but these fritti are really something special. Cantabrian anchovies are sandwiched between fragrant sage leaves and fried to make these crisp bites. *Chef’s kiss*
Brat’s got a lot going for it, but this is arguably their greatest invention. The blistered and bouncy sourdough flatbread is topped with anchovies, olive oil and minced chives and it’s everything you could ask for in a snack.
Bottle & Rye
Just as important as the fish in this dish is the butter, which generously coats the toast – a perfect base for some Cantabrian anchovies.
Head to Bermondsey Larder for the salty, glossy, savoury tarte tatin, a harmonic combo of shallots, anchovies and black olive caramel.
The team at Seabird know their way around a fish, so no surprise here that they’ve got some of the finest anchovies on their menu. Caught off the Bay of Biscay, these anchovies are cured for at least 20 months before they make their way onto our plates, paired with sourdough and Bungay butter.