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Counter Vauxhall Bar & Brasserie (CLOSED)

Restaurants, Modern French Vauxhall
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

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



Address: Arch 50
7-11 South Lambeth Place
Transport: Vauxhall tube and rail.
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £70.
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 8am-midnight; Fri 8am-1am; Sat 9am-1am; Sun 9am-11pm
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