Once there was just St John, then former St John chefs started to create their own restaurants using the same template – head-to-tail ingredients in simple but artful combinations, served up in a relaxed setting. The Anchor & Hope, which opened more than a decade ago, is still showing how it’s done. Handy for both the Young and Old Vics, it consists of a straightforward pub divided by a heavy central curtain from a dining room. Bookings aren’t taken, so most evenings you join the waiting list for a table (45 minutes midweek is typical) and hover at the crammed bar enjoying a glass of wine or a pint (a couple from Wells plus a guest on handpump). Unlike some gussied-up gastros, the dining area retains the atmosphere of a pub, in a low-lit, art-festooned room, and the food is terrific: beautifully textured venison kofte were served on perkily dressed little gem lettuce; cleaver-hacked rabbit came savagely red, with salty jus, fat chips and a big pot of béarnaise; and earthy beetroot and goat’s curd salad was lightened by a gentle touch of mint. Puddings tend towards the classic: bakewell tart with heavy-duty clotted cream, say.
|Venue name:||Anchor & Hope||Contact:|
36 The Cut
|Opening hours:||Open 5-11pm Mon; 11am-11pm Tue-Sat; 12.30-5pm Sun. Lunch served noon-2.30pm Tue-Sat; 2pm sitting Sun. Dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Southwark tube or Waterloo tube/rail|
|Price:||Main courses (Mon-Sat) £12-£20. Set lunch (Sun) £30-£35 min 3 courses|
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