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Jan 2, 2009 05:04 AM

Sunday Lunch near National Theatre - London

We'll be seeing a fairly long play soon on a Sunday at the National. Any suggestions for a good place to fill up first before sititng for 3+ hours? Some favourites aren't open on Sunday, but maybe someone has a suggestion. I know the Skylon is there... any other ideas? We don't really need a huge meal, but I feel like more than a sandwich would be nice.

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  1. Anchor & Hope on The Cut has been doing a Sunday lunch (by reservation) for a while now, with one seating at 2pm.

    It might not be what you're looking for because by some people's standards it's not close to the NT. Also, it's a set menu (e.g., "this Sunday we are serving roast pork"), so it's not great if you're dining with fussy eaters (although they've graciously accommodated vegetarians with me in the past with no notice). It's not a small meal, either, but very good.

    Failing that, there are a few other places on The Cut (can't recommend any of them because I haven't tried them), and some people enjoy Canteen, which I think is just on the back side of the NT, if I remember correctly.

    1. would pain quotidien work? it's overpriced but would be a nice sandwich style option. there is one in the new row of shops/restaurants as you walk up to the pedestrianised bridge next to the rfh.

      1. Thanks for the replies. I love the idea of booking at Anchor & Hope, but it wouldn't allow time to really enjoy a meal before a 3 o'clock curtain... will do that another time on a Sunday. Pain Quotidien might be OK... I guess I'll see what Mr. Zuriga is in the mood for. We could always eat at one of the National restaurants... unless they are dreadful. :-)

        14 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1

          The posher restaurant at the National (Mezzanine) is OK. Avoid the others.

          1. re: Jenny Sheridan

            Thanks, Jenny. I will heed your advice!

          2. re: zuriga1

            I love RSJ which is a French restaurant on Coin Street. They sometimes have an Italian Sunday lunch cooked by the food writer Ursula Ferrigno.

            1. re: greedygirl

              i'd second the rsj recommendation.

              fyi - they have the largest collection of loire valley wines in london and you can buy them retail too.

              1. re: howler

                Boo hoo... RSJ is closed on Sundays.

              2. re: greedygirl

                I was set to try RSJ but their website showed no opening on Sundays. Maybe that's a mistake. I'll call and see what's what. I've been wanting to try it after all the high praise here.

              3. re: zuriga1

                I hope the booked lunches at the Anchor & Hope are better than their offerings on the ground floor... We went there for Sunday lunch to celebrate my husband's bday in December. We hadn't booked a table. (Had one of those annoying moments where the restaurant was completely empty but we were assured that all the tables were booked by invisible people. Sigh. I hate that.) Food from the bar on the ground floor was meh - and service was laughably bad. We enjoyed ourselves, partly because we were not expecting great things and our low expectations were definitely met and exceeded. The best we could say for the pub was that it was a convenient meeting spot for friends coming from all different parts of London. I'd take Jenny's advice and avoid... OK for drinks if you don't mind the lack of queueing system, but don't bother with the food.

                To get back on topic, we have eaten at the Globe Theatre a few times, even when we weren't there for plays. Surprisingly decent with lovely river views.

                1. re: WTBD

                  I think Jenny wrote to avoid one of the restaurants at the National. But my eyes are bleary and maybe you're right.

                  I had a snack a few years ago at the Globe and it was a very nice surprise. Thanks for suggesting that... will have to try it again for a real meal.

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Isn't WTBD talking about the Anchor & Hope rather than the restaurants at The National?

                    If it is the A&H I don't understand the comments. If a table is booked for lunch it isn't available, it doesn't matter that the people who booked it have not arrived yet. The H&A is very popular I would expect it to be fully booked on Sunday which is one of the only times you can actually book.

                    Does it have an upstairs dining room? I thought the only restaurant was the space on the left hand-side of the pub.

                    "Lack of queuing system", it's a pub, pubs don't have queuing systems.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      I'm sure you're right that WTBD was writing about the A&H. Unfortunately, the 2 p.m. booking time is too late for us. I have never been there.. not sure why, but it hasn't as yet happened. I really don't know about their dining rooms, but did think it was as you describe.

                      1. re: PhilD


                        I know that an empty-yet-booked restaurant is, for all intents and purposes, full. Sorry if my tongue-in-cheek annoyance didn't translate online? It's not like it ruined my day or my feeling for the place. I just always find it bizarre to be turned away when a place is empty - even though it's perfectly justified. Am sure the invisible people turned up later and enjoyed their meal.

                        As it is, we went downstairs where we lucky to find a table. Like I said, the service was laughably bad. 'Pubs don't have queuing systems' - fair enough. And yet, when you finally manage to fight your way to the front, have made eye contact multiple times with the bartender, are standing directly in front of them, and then watch them move down the bar to serve someone who has just walked in, that, to me, signifies a definite lack of something!

                        Or maybe by that point, I had become invisible myself :)

                        zuriga1: Reading back, I think you're right about Jenny's post. Either way, the only reason I weighed in with our experience at the Anchor & Hope was to say that I wouldn't make a special trip there again...certainly not for the food...but maybe the booked lunches are better? I see you're not able to go there this time. Maybe next time.

                        1. re: WTBD

                          What's confusing though is there is no upstairs at the Anchor and Hope, which makes me think that you're talking about a different pub.

                          1. re: WTBD

                            Thanks, WTBD. Im sure we'll get to this iconic place one of these days. I usually take the train to Waterloo so it's not exactly a big trek to get there!

                            1. re: zuriga1

                              Oh blast! *Hides under sofa*

                              greedygirl: you're absolutely right. Here's how the conversation went last night.

                              Me: What was the name of that pub we went to for your bday in December - The Anchor & Hope, right?
                              Husband, distracted: Yeah

                              And just now....

                              Me: It was the Anchor & Hope, wasn't it?
                              Husband: No, just The Anchor.


                              OH NO. I'm sorry.

                              I'll shut up now.

                  2. Might be worth checking if La Barca (old school Italian, chef is Calabrese) is open.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: limster

                      Is that the one you liked.. close to Waterloo station? I had that in mind as well. We should have chosen a Saturday matinee. :-)

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        Yeah, but I've only been once and I've been meaning to go back to try their penne arabbiata. If you end up there, I'd love to hear more about it.

                    2. The last time that we went to the National we ate at the Gourmet Pizza Co at Gabriel's Wharf, about 500 or 600 meters or so to the east along the Thames.

                      This is not upscale dining, but it certainly is "a good place to fill up". We (as out-of-towners) are always happy to find a place in London that is moderately priced and yet has decent food. We expect to eat there again on our next trip, but I was looking through this thread to see what else might be of interest near the National.