Counter Vauxhall Bar & Brasserie

Restaurants, Modern French Vauxhall
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(17user reviews)
Counter Vauxhall Bar & Brasserie

A smart, ambitious addition to the neighbourhood that’s worth a pit-stop.

Like King’s Cross before it, dingy, dirty Vauxhall has long been a hub you pass through via tube, train or bus en route to somewhere better. But things are ever-so-slowly changing, as the railway arches and its surrounds become populated with restaurants of serious aspiration, alongside the area's numerous clubs.

Counter is the smartest addition yet – a beautifully designed space with echoes of art-deco whose mirror-adorned walls and comfortable booths are picked out in grey, with warm yellow lighting creating a cosy vibe despite the industrial surrounds. Its premises span the entire length of one arch, but it’s been cleverly divided into two dining rooms so as not to feel cavernous.

With the main entrance just yards from the tube and train exits, lots of punters are likely to be frustrated commuters who’ve missed their connection – and that’s what the long, four-sided bar is for, its upbeat cocktail menu peppered with local references, such as the Vauxhall Vesper. Once ensconced, there is much on the French/US brasserie-style menu to tempt you to stay longer.

Everything we ate was commendable and well-meaning without blowing our socks off. A bulbous deep-fried duck egg with frisée, beetroot cubes and crunchy croûtons was a little overcooked on the inside, a little undercooked on the outside, while a small fillet of mackerel, though expertly cured in gin and lime, lacked flavour despite a scattergun salad of almonds, chard, cucumber and pear. A main course of beautifully tender braised shortrib came with chicory too cautiously caramelised to remove its bitterness. But we happily polished it all off, giving everything a kick of much-needed seasoning, and washing it down with glasses of wine from the pedestrian but serviceable list.

Historic pictures of a well-to-do Vauxhall far removed from its present-day incarnation line the corridor between the two dining rooms. With the likes of Counter setting the wheels in motion, the area might yet become a destination in itself.

By: Nicola Arencibia

Posted:

Venue name: Counter Vauxhall Bar & Brasserie
Contact:
Address: Arch 50
7-11 South Lambeth Place
London
SW8 1SP
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 8am-midnight; Fri 8am-1am; Sat 9am-1am; Sun 9am-11pm
Transport: Vauxhall tube and rail.
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £70.
Do you own this business?
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|17
3 people listening
1 of 1 found helpful

Counter has caught my eye a few times when making my daily commute. I finally went for dinner a few nights ago and was very impressed. The place was fairly busy for a Tuesday with both post work drinkers and diners. The food was perfect in portion size and quality, the sea bass and apple pie were both innovative and delicious. I'd recommend you go before everyone knows about it!

1 of 1 found helpful

A refined venue with relaxed but high quality food and service. An oasis of calm, clean and quiet in loud, dirty Vauxhall. I go for a midweek breakfast whenever I need a little escapism: try the banana stuffed brioche french toast and the rose smoothie and read the free papers from cover to cover!

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Counter is a good addition to Vauxhall in that it offers convenience and variety in an otherwise relatively barren food environment. It’s a bit of a diamond in the rough.


It’s not perfect; the pancake dish on the brunch menu was an odd combination of flavours and would have been better as a traditional maple and bacon, but the cranberry juice was fresh and the environment clean and comfy.


Is it the best brunch in London? No. But it may be the best in a 10-15 minute radius! I’m keen to try its new “build your own Bellini” option. 

1 of 1 found helpful

As a long time local resident we very much looked forward to trying brunch at Counter. We were not disappointed. The stuffed French toast is to die for, and the pan cakes were fantastic. Bu the best thing is the New York style atmosphere. It is like a mini vacation to Hells Kitchen across the Atlantic. We actually staid all afternoon to drink Bellinis and martini cocktails before staying for dinner. Very friendly service to boost. 

1 of 1 found helpful

awful service, too expensive, better places in the area - a flop !

1 of 1 found helpful

We knew the Counter Brasserie had been opened some months so felt it was about time for us to pop in, we ventured in on a Thursday evening 8PM'ish, We have been waiting a long time for new venues in Vauxhall and we were all rather excited. On entering the lighting was warm and inviting, we were offered a choice of table. On sitting down my guests and I all mentioned the same thing at the same time. The music was horrendous, whilst it was not so loud to be over bearing it was the style of music, totally removed the atmosphere and unsuitable. Over all we found the place clinical, sterile and characterless but it has got potential. 

Tastemaker

I loved my first experience of dining in Vauxhall and was not expecting to find such a lovely spot right on the Vauxhall bus station area. Counter sits in the arches and the moment you walk in you're feeling relaxed and far away from the madding crowds outside. The decor is smooth and the lighting is nice. The bar is impressive (and big). We were sat in one of the booths which I always like - gives you some privacy and it's comfortable too. 


We had a few cocktails to start which were delicious - I forget the name of mine but it was pisco sour-esque and made with egg white. We had a few nibbles - the mac n cheese balls and the mini sausages. I wasn't a huge fan of the venision sausages but the mac n cheese balls hit the spot. We ordered a burger and a tartiflette to share between the two of us on the basis that we saw them both walk past us (not literally, they were carried by a waiter) and thought they looked tasty. They were! 


I very much enjoyed my time at Counter and I would always recommend it to those in the area.  


Having been around for two years, Counter has become an institution for Vauxhall. We live close by and come all the time. Whether for a coffee-to-go on the way to the Wharf, a quick sharpener on the way home, or dinner when we can't be bothered to cook. Counter is always there for us. I have also really noticed a real big, positive change in the food. Drinks were always Mayfair-level but food used to be pedestrian. With their new chef the food is well on the way to Mayfair-standards as well.


Definitely a lively atmosphere, were people mingle easily. The staff is friendly and food great. Definitely worth a visit and because it is next to the tube station easy to reach from the whole of London.

tastemaker

Looking for a good boozy brunch then look no further! I love the brunches here on the weekend. Attached to Vauxhall station it's not to hard to get too. It has a romantic vibe and I'll admit more natural light would be ideal, but the food, the French toast is amazing. It is a bit pricy but I do think it is worth it. I even stop there every-other morning on my commute to get a take away coffee. I find the staff very friendly and accommodating. As a brunch lover this is definitely in my top 5 in London.

tastemaker

I came here to sample their bottomless brunch and it really is a hidden gem. It's great value for money, you pick 2 courses from their whole brunch menu which includes a lot of meals I would consider lunch or dinner even. It's a very extensive menu with good portion sizes and really delicious food. The staff were really friendly and quick to top up your drinks, usually without asking. The interior is really nicely decorated but it has an odd long and narrow layout due to the nature of it being in an arch. However I think this adds character and they've made good use of the awkward space. I can't judge their dinners but I highly recommend the brunch!


I love the atmosphere and buzz of this new bar and restaurant the Queer community and friends Great staff front of house and Bar The food is of fresh and local produce very reasonable priced Its inviting and warm Its centered in Vauxhall Very handy for after work visits and before visiting a local theaters


A finally a stylish neighborhood restaurant & bar that provides a smart ambiance, fun events and good quality food from coffees to breakfast to dinner and more.


Great service, good ambience and top quality food. Perfect dinner place in Vauxhall !


This place is super - Vauxhall's first first class restaurant.  Vauxhall already has the best tea-house in London (the Tea House Theatre) and the best coffee shop (the Italo deli) - the area is on course to be a really nice place to live that is only a short walk from Big Ben and the London Eye.


we went for dinner last week and were very pleasantly surprised. We had not expected such a sophisticated decor, friendly service and great food and drink in Vauxhall. We started by sharing the chilli blanco, a vegetarian dish with a great kick. For mains we had the seared tuna and the burger which was all meat and no grease. Definitively not a dirty burger. All washed down with some cosmopolitans well mixed and a great bottle of Alsace Riesling. Our only slight critique is that our waiter, who was very flirtatious and fun, seemed to take a little bit too long with his tablet to take orders. Will certainly come back.