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Dec 13, 2011 09:17 AM

South Bank lunch? [London]

Looking for lunch recommendations between Southwark Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, or thereabouts. Tasty, reasonably priced food in a casual environment with quick, yet efficient service. I know Masters Superfish and Anchor and Hope are not far away (and are wildly different types of places) but am hoping for a recommendation of somewhere right on the Thames. Your input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. On weekends (and maybe fridays?) the Real Foods Market in front of Canteen can make for a good meal. Beppino's for fresh hand-cut pasta, Buen Provecho for tacos are good stalls.

    9 Replies
    1. re: limster

      Thanks for the tip, Limster. Unfortunately, we will be there on a Thursday.

      1. re: andybreav

        How about Tsuru, just south of Tate Modern. No river views, but solid katsu curry, as well as a newish scotch egg curry rice that is excellent.

        1. re: limster

          Scotch egg curry? My word, that sounds intriguing!

          1. re: andybreav

            Two of my favourite things in one dish!

            Now if only someone would create pork pie ramen:)

            1. re: Paprikaboy

              How is the food at Canteen itself? It might suit our purposes nicely. I saw some mixed reviews online.

              1. re: andybreav

                I thought Canteen was perfectly fine, but have heard whispers of downhill trends in the last year or so. Any confirmatory or contrary experiences from anyone?

                1. re: limster

                  I had an average dinner there about 6 months ago (the service was shocking, our bottle of wine arrived after we had finished our meals), but have also had some decent meals there, I just think they are a bit hit and miss, but perhaps best of the chains in the area.

            2. re: andybreav

              It's also a riff on the Japanese Hamburg, where a fried egg with a beef patty and curry are a classic combo. A tiny bit more here:

          2. re: andybreav

            The Japanese Canteen in county hall is quite good and not overpriced. Its opposite yo sushi on belvedere road and although not original it does a basic canteen fare well with no frills .
            There is also a french bakery next door which is quirky and fun and seems to be just family run - I liked their croissants a lot .

        2. Handy site for me.. It mentions some very good eating, although not many are right on the river.

          RSJ is a great little place - no river view but good service and food (near the National Theatre and Waterloo)

          1. There are lots of reasonably priced options with efficient turnaround times in the SouthBank Centre. My personal faves are Wagamamas and Ping Pong. Although both are very close to the river, neither really have a view.

            An alternative with a view is Pizza Express by the Globe Theatre. Fantastic Thames views from upstairs: 24 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DS. Just inside your Southwark Bridge-Waterloo Bridge boundary.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Shivaun

              If you are going to go near the Globe, which isn't actually the South Bank, but a bit further along, you should try the Swan Brasserie which is in the Globe - beautiful views and very good food. I have to say there are better places in the neighbourhood than the chain restaurants like Pizza Express and Ping Pong.

              1. re: pj26

                We were planning on starting at the Globe then walking along the river to Waterloo for lunch. However, the Swan looks like a good option. We could always reverse plans: start at Waterloo, walk down for a late morning visit at the Globe, then lunch at the Swan afterwards.

                1. re: andybreav

                  If you could be bothered to just go a little further down to Tower Bridge the Blueprint Cafe is a must. Great food and stunning views of the river from the first floor dining room. They even have a small pair of binoculars on each table to take in the scenery.

            2. Are you looking for waitress service or would a place like benugo Cafe Deli be okay? Giraffe is in the Southbank Cntre and they do a nice job for what they are. The food is fresh and it has a great view of the Thames.

              7 Replies
              1. re: scottca075

                One of the major reasons I use this board is to find out about non-chain restaurants that maybe family owned.
                I often see people recommending chains like Giraffe but if you have eaten at any 1 around the world (dunno if they are worldwide) you'll know what to expect.
                Not having a go but wish we could keep recommendations to local non chain type establishments as they're a dying breed. The southbank did a bad thing when handing out its occupancy to the restauranteurs - all chains , not a single family restaurant , probably due to rent prices but I do think this is disgraceful for an arts centre.

                1. re: bleep75

                  I understand what you're saying and implying, but many people who come here for recommendations are not from London or the UK. Sometimes they don't want to spend exorbitant prices for lunch or even dinner. I only can use myself as an example. When I'd come to London aways back I found some of the chains so unlike what I was used to that it was a nice novelty and treat... even Wagamama. I was a pretty good judge of food by then and not a food snob. I don't think we should limit our recommendations. Let the visitors judge for themselves and do some research. Many are just darn lazy and end up in bad spots because they don't have a clue what's available. Chain does not always = bad.

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Could not agree more , Chain normally means reliably good.
                    My gripe is the power and money these chains have - and the implicit thinking ,that I share, that they are predictably good (if predictable).
                    I do think though that tourist to our city may not know Giraffe is a chain and we should flag up recommendations as such if guiding visitors , no problem with the recommendation itself but unfortunately the poster did make it sound like a single restaurant unique to the SBC which it is not.

                    1. re: bleep75

                      I totally agree... mentioning a restaurant is part of a chain should be part of the recommendation.... just in case the visitor doesn't like that idea. I loved Pret A Manger when I first visited one years ago, and I still like it for a fast sandwich. When they moved to NYC, I think they just never knows.

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        I think tarring all chains with the same brush can be tricky - for example Rasa is often recommended but is part of a chain, indeed on another recent thread someone said 'but it's part of a chain so would not be interested', or Noura which is also part of a chain but very good.

                        The issue is more with recommending places that many 'locals' may not think is good, and Zuriga's post is a good example, and on the General Topics board there is a thread about how many people love Pret when they visit the UK.

                        I guess subjectivity does come in to it, but I have noticed recently a few have recommended to some potential tourists to try Pizza Express or Zizzi - I mean really, is that the best we can come up with in terms of recommendations??!!! There are so many great places and to suggest a chain can do what we have to offer in the UK a disservice.

                  2. re: bleep75

                    Ha ha, I thought I qualified pretty well that Giraffe was good for "what it is", which is a chain, but the OP asked for "tasty, reasonably priced food in a casual environment with quick, yet efficient service" and "hoping for a recommendation of somewhere right on the Thames", without saying they wanted small, local, independent. Giraffe fulfills those criteria. I didn't get that the request was for any special event or a stunning experience, the request seemed more utilitarian.

                    We don't have Giraffe, Wagamama, Harry Ramsden's or some other British chains that I really enjoy so going to them is some what of a treat when I am in London. It is the same way with tourists who come to California and have to eat at In 'n Out Burgers. It isn't close to the best burger in Los Angeles, but it is probably the best chain and its fame has outgrown what it actually delivers, but people love it, me included.

                    1. re: scottca075

                      For what it is worth, my opinion as the OP is that I have no problem with being recommended a chain. I do agree, however, that it might be good to point out that it is a chain you are recommending.

                      Thank you all for your willingness to help a London native who has not lived in London for over twenty years find some nice places to take his Mum and American girlfriend to lunch.

                2. A local secret is a chinese place called "culture grub". Ultra fast and friendly service and very cheap to. Pay about 6.50 for mains and have never been disappointed.

                  The place is on the cut.

                  Only downside is horrible toilets...