Classy but relaxed, intimate but bustling, Waterloo Bar and Kitchen serves up a superb selection of classic and contemporary British cuisine. Expect attentive service, well-presented menu choices, a great wine list and a laid-back buzz. Couple this with affordable prices, and Waterloo Bar and Kitchen is undoubtedly one of the best choices in the area.
Almost next door to the Old Vic, and a mere stone’s throw from the likes of the London Eye and the IMAX, Waterloo Bar and Kitchen is perfectly located for pre-theatre dining - or as a reassuringly safe choice after a day wandering around the South Bank. Harbouring a very British red, white and blue colour scheme both outside and in, there's even a slightly nautical feel to the place; wooden tables and floorboards contrast with white ceilings and bright blue pillars, distributed across the restaurant floor.
Comfortably busy on a mid-week evening, expect a quiet bustle of customers; this is a refined place, and particularly popular, it seems, amongst pre-theatre diners. Having said that, it maintains its fullness well into the evening, so booking ahead is advisable from mid-week if you want to be sure of a table. Soft music, dimmed lighting and candles make for an intimate but relaxed vibe. When booking, ask to sit in one of the booths at the left-hand side of the restaurant – undoubtedly the best place to soak up the atmosphere.
The menu is varied and enticing - be prepared to have to deliberate for a while between several equally appealing options. To start, try the wild mushroom risotto with white truffle oil and parmesan shavings. Creamy and full of flavour, it’s a perfect size for an appetiser and, at just under £7, it’s very good value too. Alternatively, the classic baked camembert is worth a try – a generous individual portion of soft baked melted cheese, it works perfectly with the crunch of the accompanying sesame seed-covered toasted bread and celery sticks.
For a main course, the steak is seriously good – tender and succulent and served with fries and either garlic butter, peppercorn sauce or béarnaise sauce, it’s a sound choice, and pretty reasonable at £16.95. The slow roasted confit of duck leg with creamy mash, red cabbage and gravy is another excellent choice; the duck is cooked so well that it all but falls off the bone in tender slices, and the smooth mash makes an ideal accompaniment.
The pear and frangipane tart with vanilla ice cream, is a good shout for dessert, but the real highlight has to be another special - the banoffee pie with Amaretto cream. It's rich and gorgeous, with the almond sweetness from the liqueur offering a slight twist on the classic dessert.
The wine list here is varied and full of good choices; try the Rive Haute Tannat-Cabernat Sauvignon Rosé (£17.95) for an elegant and light choice, infused with flavours of raspberries and cherries. If you do want to splash out a little then there's certainly some scope to do so, with a fair few champagnes on offer as well as a very good Pouilly Fuissé at £41.95.
The Last Word
Situated in a great location and offering good food amidst a bustling yet comfortable atmosphere, Waterloo Bar and Kitchen is a very sound spot for an affordable evening out just south of the river.