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The Lido Café

Restaurants, British Herne Hill
4 out of 5 stars
(34user reviews)
The Lido Cafe

Time Out says

As befits a café attached to one of south London’s best-loved outdoor swimming pools, the Lido Café is light-filled and very chilled. The interior design is smart and airy with stark beech and white furnishings, opening out on to a decked area overlooking the water, and punctuated with potted palms and blue parasols.

The monthly menu is short but designed with love, care and boundless enthusiasm for seasonal British produce, stretching from the breakfast menu of eggs benedict, fry-ups and blueberry buttermilk pancakes, to light lunches (Severn & Wye smoked salmon and rye bread, charcuterie platter with pickles, salads) to sophisticated evening dinners (grilled harissa mackerel with crushed jersey royals and samphire salad; cardamom confit free-range duck leg with English asparagus).

Fishcakes on creamed spinach didn’t stand out, but a burger with all the trimmings on sweet brioche was perfectly balanced. Alternatively, you could just pop in for a seriously good coffee, a wicked slice of cake and a few lengths of front crawl. At weekends, the place is inevitably awash with swimmers and dry-side diners but during the week, the lido offers a tranquillity that can be hard to come by in London.




Address: Brockwell Lido
SE24 0PA
Cross street: Dulwich Road
Transport: Tube: Herne Hill rail or Brixton tube/rail then bus 37
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Users say (34)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:16
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:7
  • 1 star:3
1 person listening

This poolside cafe has friendly service and an interesting menu. Interiors are light and airy with a great view of Brockwell lido. Worth a post swim visit!

Breakfasts are spot on here. On the weekends, expect a long wait unless you've booked.

Amazing staff and great atmosphere... Imaginative food and delicious drinks.. I only wish I could visit every day!

Great place looking out over the lido. With the quality of food you can almost pretend you're on holiday...

Dog friendly outside only - I wish there were more eateries that were more relaxed about dogs allowed inside, although perfectly warm under heaters, listening to Cafe del mar style music. 5 star food, strong man breakfast - delicious, chicken salad with fresh and chargrilled broccoli, zucchini & beans, fresh orange, red velvet & carrot cake. So delicious & our new local favorite with a great atmosphere.

A really lovely and relaxed place to eat. Great view of the lido, healthy and guilt free food, as well very tasty not so healthy food (the burgers are the best we've had!)
Family friendly, happy & helpful staff, lucky Herne Hill!


Brockwell Park is my nearest Parkrun, the major benefit of that being that at 9.30am on Saturday morning I have an excuse to go for brunch in the Lido Cafe AND I'm early enough usually to get away without a reservation (any later and you MUST book). The menu has changed in recent months and has become a little bit too superfoody for my liking (it was already healthy and delicious before - the granola with greek yoghurt and berry compote did not need the new quinoa and goji berry substitutions) but the food is still tasty and you can get your traditional #avotoast with poached eggs with a perfectly instagrammable runny yolk or just the standard full English if you like less fuss and bother. My favourite thing is to sit in at the window bench watching the early morning Lido swimmers to my heart's content, rewarding my post-run-self with juice, an amazing cup of coffee and some quinoa porridge. The Lido Cafe is a bright, cheerful, family-friendly brunch destination; a great way to start the weekend!

Nice place and the food is good in general. They lost our desert order, no big deal - we had to chase them on it. The desert was not as described, we ordered ice cream with espresso, we got a glass of ice cream with one scoop, which had melted before it even got to our table (and prior to pouring the espresso on before you ask... the staff did ask).

When we asked the waiter (2 of them) about this that it seemed very little and we expected a little more ice cream, they consulted the kitchen and the basic answer was that was all you get, like it or lump it. We didn't feel this was best represented on the menu and as waitresses, perhaps could have exercised a little more 'PR' when reiterating this back to us from the kitchen... rather than a 'deal with it' sort of attitude.

They need to try harder.

Update to a review posted around 6 months ago ... I swim at the Lido pool &, in need of a coffee & a slice of cake afterwards, I thought I'd re-try this place after giving up on it because of the service. I had been a regular for coffee, cake, breakfast & lunch for over two years, tolerating the comically poor service because the setting was so perfect before I finally bailed. So, would I wait 10 minutes for a menu, 20 for my order & then be brought the wrong coffee? Would I battle for 40 minutes to order & receive a coffee then not be brought my change - as if a tip was warranted!? Wow - no! This time around there are clearly more staff on show. I was greeted & shown to a table promptly & with a smile. I could barely believe it when my order was taken & brought to me in a matter of minutes, even though they were modestly busy. Unlike the bad old days, I had no difficulty in ordering a second coffee or in getting the bill. The coffee here is good, the food is fine although I wouldn't rave about it (note - some time since I ate a meal here). I think the building & the setting are the stars. If the service remains competent & friendly I will be back. I may even persuade my husband to try it again.

Sadly my visit to the café was truly disappointing. We waited over 40 minutes for lunch to be served. When the food arrived it was cold and tasteless. I don't normally complain but it was so bad I felt I had no choice. We were given a £10 reduction in the costs but I even resented paying the remaining £23.00. There are good restaurants in Herne Hill and Brixton. This one is to be avoided. On a good note, the coffee and cakes looked good.

I too am/was a reluctant regular here as the cafe has a beautiful view, a good menu, and is ideally located when out with kids or using the lido. In the summer I feel like I'm on holiday when sitting by the poolside here at the lido cafe - it is lovely. However, there are a good few negative points about the place that bring a 5 star review crashing down to a 2. Firstly, the prices - they are unreasonable. This week I bought two iced coffees to take away. As well as taking almost 10 minutes to prepare (they were not all that busy either), when they arrived they were in open plastic pint cups filled only a third of the way. I had ordered one with soy milk, the other regular, and the soy one was even visibly smaller. There was no ice in it, I assume it may have all been blended, but it was not very cold either. For the pleasure of waiting for these small, tepid drinks I was asked to pay £9. I felt compelled to ask if they could at least fill the cups, as for £4.50 that was not acceptable. They refused to even fill the cups with ice cubes. I can understand why chains such as Costa succeed despite peoples' desire to support independent cafes. I had the previous day bought a very large, very cold, Costa frappe for £.2.30 and the customer service was better, I didn't have to wait more that a minute, and I didn't have to argue about the price and the product. Lido cafe - shame on you. Yes, the rent must be high, but you are always buzzing with customers, and you employ (seemingly) young, low-paid, impolite and inexperienced staff (all of who have at one time or another placed cutlery and hot drinks next to babies in high chairs without even thinking about it). You have disappointed me one too many times now, please sort yourself out as you are losing customers through greed.

Only been a couple of times but on both occasions found the service excellent. Staff were really lovely and welcoming and the food is amazing!

Amazing dinner in a stylish venue with a good wine list, great alternative to Brixton village on cold nights. Only been in the evening and service has always been spot on.

Food was generally good bu thr chips cold dry, and also service rude and appalling.

I love the lido cafe: great food, great view, great atmosphere & friendly and reasonably priced. Easily the best brunch/breakfast in the area. It's also great for kids, with a special menu and toys for the little ones to play with. Make sure you book a table, as it can get very busy.

The Lido Cafe has a bit of a disconcerting entrance as you enter via a narrow side door, but once you are in there, what a tranformation! The view on the terrace and out to the pool is beautiful and very peaceful, the Lido Cafe is a great place to watch a sunset sipping a cool glass of white, but also manages to feel suitably cosy in the winter. The quality of the ingredients and desire to use local and seasonal produce is definitely something I look for in a good restaurant and the Lido has never disappointed, I've had many lovely meals there. Their occasional special events are definitely good fun, Flamenco night was great! Recommended to anyone.

I'm a happy regular at the Lido Cafe. I've experienced delicious wine tastings there; big celebratory feasts at Christmas & for special birthdays; & even a massively romantic wedding by the water. I've brought friends visiting London to this place literally from all over the world, because it sums up the best things about London: it serves the community, to provide comforting, delicious, high quality food; with a real respect for the provenance of ingredients. Fun, vibrant, and intimate. Perfect.

When the sun finally came out in London yesterday I decided to go for lunch at The Lido with some friends. It was a wonderful experience: we sat outside on a lovely wooden table, enjoying the heat under the shade and the wonderful view of the blue pool. It felt like being on holiday! The service was super friendly and attentive. The food was superb, tasty, fresh and generally top quality ingredients for a reasonable price. The freshly squeezed apple, carrot and ginger juice was a highlight, served in a generous sized glass. We are definitely coming back, next time to try the famous breakfast.

This is my favourite cafe in South London. The food is always tasty and original, reasonable and not pretentious, and they serve the best coffee anywhere! Also as a Londoner I am sick of bog standard cafes, or chain restaurants, I love somewhere that feels like it has a personal touch, with friendly staff and a family/community feel. The Lido does this perfectly. I have been quite a few times because it is really sunny and welcoming, and does really cheap and good breakfasts and good deals on a wednesday night! I highly recommend!

Lovely spot, been coming here for a long time. Food is very good and the lattes have art on them! On a sunny day it feels like you are in the med... Highly reccomend it

We have been to the lido cafe twice before at the weekend for breakfast and once in the evening. The food is always delicious and well cooked. It's such a shame that it took nearly 45 minutes for our brunch to arrive, plus a lot of faffing to seat us. Surely it doesn't take that long to make a child's scrambled egg and baked beans? There was no apology or explanation for this delay, which would certainly have helped make the experience better, just a lot of stressed out staff. It makes me reluctant to go back.

First timers at Lido we were enticed by the blinding review given by Time Out. Sunday morning, 10am(ish) was the time we arrived. It being a lovely sunny May day we had hoped to possibly get a seat outside and look at the swimmers strutting their stuff but alas this idea was dashed when we arrived into a 10-15 minute long queue. We accepted this and were happy to people watch the eclectic view of interesting patrons. We were seated by the window which was nice and then proceeded to wait for something to happen and wait and then wait some more. Finally we were offered our drink order to be taken by in fairness an apologetic young waiter, drinks ordered we waited some more for them to come. When they eventually came the coffee was good, the orange juice was watered down, in a tiny glass and cost £3!, disgraceful. We waited some more for our food and although it looked good was as cold as the swimmers outside and the bread seemed stale (we had scrambled eggs and sausages). I would imagine our plates had been sitting waiting for pick up for at least 15 minutes, which along with the delay in service would lead one to the conclusion that Lido is seriously under staffed. With the revenue being turned over on orange juice sales alone you would think they could invest in a couple more bodies on the floor. So all in all a disappointing outing and I am adding an extra star only for the polite waiter. We will be back but only for a swim.

What a wonderful place to have Mothers day breakfast:) There were six of us in the party. We sat on wonderful Olde world long wooden benches, that gave you the feeling of comfort that was their hay day in the 1800. The table again long solid wood. Some of the other table and chairs would look in place in a school hall. The Art deco was very in keeping with the Lido swimming pool, and we would have loved to have had a dip there. Thank goodness we booked as there was a continual queue. The service was outstanding and with only a 10% service charge well worth it. We sat down at 1230pm and some of our party were late arriving, but our order was taken quickly. I ordered a bacon bap and a cup of black Earl grey tea. The others were two poached eggs with smoked salmon,two with eggs and ham and a full breakfast all served at speed forty five minutes later. My tea was not Earl grey, but it was black and they kindly left the tea bag in, which was fun hooking it out and the tea was very well stewed. I had to remove the streaky bacon from the lovely very dry bun as the lovely bacon rind was not crisp and I could not bite through it. I would recommend this wonderful restaurant and it deserves a mention in the Best Breakfast guide.

Love this cafe. Attention is slow-ish at peak times, but extremely friendly. And the food is always fresh and premises are generally clean (i go there at least once every 2 weeks). Reading the newspaper on the couch, while sipping my cappuccino is one of my favourite things. Thanks for a wonderful service and keep it up!

Today was my third visit. Full of mums with children, which is great, but the children were screaming, running all over the place, food on the floor, child lying on the floor - their wells strewn across the floor. A scooter was even being used although the mum did try to stop that. Childless visitors gradually moved outside except a bit chilly today. Nothing is said to the mums with unruly kids and I certainly won't be going back. Service was appalling - had to ask for menus, ask to order and ask for bill. The grilled chicken was bland, fatty and totally disgusting. I complained - when I got their attention that is - they apologied but I was not offered anything else nor a reduction. ps normally I will eat anything if hungry but not their chicken. They are getting complacent and its turning into a creche!

alienswampmonster must be as crazy as there username; this place is fantastic. I had breakfast and lunch today. It was busy all day, yet the service was friendly and swift. my coffee had artwork in it and the food was fantastic. Prices are cheap and with my 10% gym discount it's even more of a bargain!

Had a lovely expereince here on Saturday, really good full english, and stornwaway black pudding (mmmm) coffee was very good with latte art to boot! I came here as a local friend said it was amazing, I wasn't dissapointed.

Truly terrible service and they seem to like keeping those with children waiting exceptionally long. They serve something they call pancakes with maple syrup. My kids thought they were tasteless, spongey pitta-style breads and refused to eat them. The syrup had clearly never seen a maple tree. Lovely setting, shame about the crappy service and crappy food.

oh no. no no no. what lovely setting but a shame about the food. we were hoping for a decent breakfast but what we got was a big disappointment. to put it simply, they can't cook bacon. it was sweaty, limp, and sad-looking. streaky bacon should be crisp. and, preferably smoked. we even asked for it to be crispy. come on lido cafe.

As a local, the Lido cafe has by far the best breakfast in Brixton / Herne Hill area, specially after a cold swim. Also, I highly recommend having a drink or dinner while the sun is setting over the park, evening food is pretty descent too with well sourced produce.

Coffee here is great and so is the food, though they could be more generous with the toast for the full English (one slice is not enough!). Agree with Paul though - the concrete floor and windows mean the acoustics are pretty bad and the noise can be quite deafening. Maybe an investment in a new floor would be worth it to dim the noise.

Disagree with PaulR. The service when I went (last Saturday) was very quick and attentive. The breakfast was top notch and I didn't think it was overpriced. Yes, sometimes there are a few kids but you have the option of eating on the terrace to get away from the noise.

Hit and miss sometimes good sometimes bad. Often full of very noisy children and the acoustics make the noise unbearable. Service is slow prices high.

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