One set of our parents are visiting from the US this week (celebrating Thanksgiving, natch), and we’ve been scrambling to find some new and interesting places to grab a few nibbles, aside from the chains and tourist traps lying all around our hood (and beyond).
We have our own go-to places for just us, but not everyone in the family shares the same tastes, so we were looking for more general menus. This unfortunately rules out several tasty options in the hood, like Indian, Polish (we’re looking at you saucily, Baltic), etc.
On the first night of the parental visit, we hopped on over to the Anchor & Hope on the Cut (between Southwark and Waterloo tubes). We’ve been here before for lunch (and for a cocktail on an occasion or two), so we knew the food was good and there’d be crowds to deal with. So, we met there at around 545pm and put our name on the seating list, and hung out in the bar until they called us. Turns out, even with the full room of people, we only had to wait about 20m for a table. We were led into the comfy dining room and greeted by a few friendly faces. Definitely nice people working here.
They change the menu twice a day, so it is hard to say what you’ll find on a given night. On this particular night, the standout dish was a creamy cassoulet (for two) – with enough porky and ducky goodness to fend off the cold, dreary, rainy late Autumn weather (or is it pretty much winter now?). Other highlights included a delicious cured “Glass blowers” herring appetizer, pork terrine appetizer, roasted grouse as a main, plus an awesome dessert of buttermilk pudding with salted caramel and apples. Their cocktails are also quite well done, which is a nice reminder that you are not simply in a pub.
Another spot we’ve been meaning to hit is the interestingly-named Laughing Gravy on Blackfriars Bridge Road (just a few blocks south from the Southwark tube station). We’d walked past here a few times during the day time, and read a good thing or two about it on various forums, so this seemed like a good opportunity to try it out. We grabbed a reservation for an early dinner (they were booked solid between 6pm and 945pm). We walked in to a warm room with a buzzy-but-understated atmosphere, dark but lit with fairy lights, and an elegant but comfortable looking bar area in the front, and an equally inviting dining room towards the rear. A solid-looking featured cocktail list was on a board above the bar. Things were off to a good start!
It only got better. Friendly and attentive staff guided us through their delicious menu, which are creative takes on traditional British/Continental dishes. Standouts were the pork belly confit appetizer (served with a black pudding sausage roll), cider-marinated lamb main, and the sea bass main. The vegetarian options on the menu also sounded rather awesome – so I’m sure we’ll be back soon to try them out. Unfortunately we skipped dessert this time, but the options are another reason to plan the next visit.
These are two excellent spots with tasty food, friendly and efficient service, and with enough atmosphere to impress guests from out-of-town. We’re looking forward to our next visits!