Aside from the street food market behind the Royal Festival Hall, Waterloo hasn’t always been known as a foodie hotspot. But don’t overlook the area; The Cut is a hotbed of gastropubs and restaurants and there are some fab little cafés if you know where to look.
Cafe, Restaurant, Cuban, American, none
knows how to have fun, with a plethora of drinks offers and cocktail on the menu, but it also serves up a mean range of Cuban food and Latin American tapas. Most of its ingredients are organic or free range and it’s a good social pitstop at the weekend. Try ropa vieja, a standout Cuban dish of slow cooked beef with black beans or pollo frito al escabeche con sésamo y salsa — battered chicken bites with salsa. It’s a good spot for dinner before seeing something at The Old Vic
Cafe, British, Vegetarian, none
Sort out any ill effects from the night before with breakfast at Penny Bar, a café and bar in The Old Vic. During the day it serves up smoothies, locally sourced coffee, breakfast bowls, sandwiches and more. At lunch and in the evening try modern British mains like pork belly with celeriac purée, charred leaks sprouts and lentils, prunes and red cabbage, washed down with craft beer.
Tas The Cut
Restaurant, Turkish, Vegetarian, $$$
is a small chain of Turkish restaurants spread out around south London, and Tas The Cut was the original spot. Pop in for lashings of homemade hummus
and fresh bread, pide (Turkish pizzas), borek and huge mixed grills. The service is friendly and this is everything a local restaurant should be.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, British, $$$
Flying the flag for fine dining around Waterloo is Skylon
in the Southbank Centre. Overlooking the Thames with huge windows, book a lunchtime table and settle in for a long afternoon of wonderful British cooking from Kim Woodward. Oh, and the cocktails aren’t bad either.
The Cut Bar
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, European, Vegetarian, none
The Cut Bar
is the area’s go-to gourmet burger
joint. The airy, industrial space houses a restaurant, bar and café and is packed on Saturdays with brunchers and long lunchers. Pop by for sustainable and organic burgers and don’t miss the tandoori chicken version with yoghurt and crushed avocado.
Union Street Café
Restaurant, Italian, Vegetarian, none
Gordon Ramsey does Italian in this charming little restaurant that’s filled with olive trees. It’s all about sharing dishes and hearty Mediterranean food at Union Street Café
, which has both a casual area and a dining room for more formal occasions. It also runs masterclasses in pasta making and other Italian delights. There’s a huge menu of antipasti, cocktails, pastas, meat and fish, and it’s a great spot for taking parents.
Anchor & Hope
Gastropub, British, Vegetarian, $$$
One of Southwark’s best gastropubs is also on The Cut in Waterloo
. The Anchor & Hope
is a proper British boozer that’s been given a makeover and a pretty decent menu. There’s a set ‘worker’s lunch’ menu during the week as well as posh British pub food, with dishes like roast chopped mustard rabbit, chips and béarnaise. Book if you want a Sunday lunch — it’s an incredibly popular spot.