This small-plates brasserie fits the bill for a quick pre-theatre bite but it's no destination and the bill mounts quickly.
The National Theatre has lots of café-bar areas, which ebb and flow like tides; a surprisingly good restaurant, called House; and then this small-plates brasserie. What’s good about Terrace is the waiting staff’s first enquiry: ‘Are you going to see a show?’. Of course you are, or you wouldn’t be there. So dishes arrive swiftly, just as they should.
The menu reads well enough: a mixture of modishly Mediterranean and international dishes. But the 'small plates' really are small, and the bill can add up quickly if you’re having a meal and not merely grazing.
The best dish was a tiny steak tartare, prettily presented with a quail's egg in the centre. But this nibble costs £8, and even the vegetarian snacks aren’t much cheaper. Potato frittata was a slice of a ‘Spanish omelette’, served cold; courgette salad was a tangle of decorative strips – pretty, but again, not very substantial.
Like buying an umbrella in the rain, eating here is a distress purchase: your show is about to start and you need to eat first. Considering that its customer base is such a captive and ephemeral crowd, Terrace is better than you might expect, but it’s no destination. If you have enough time to dine at the aforementioned House, it is much preferable (if even pricier), and a mere minute’s walk away.