Once there was just St John, then former St John chefs started to create their own restaurants using the same template of head-to-tail cooking. Open for more than a decade, the Anchor & Hope is still a leading exponent of using offal and unusual cuts of meat in simple but artful combinations, served in a relaxed setting.
Handy for both the Young and Old Vic Theatres, 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.
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. textured venison kofte served on perkily dressed little gem lettuce, for example, or rabbit served savagely red with salty jus, fat chips and a big pot of béarnaise sauce.