At some point, sometime soon, you are inevitably going to find yourself looking for a restaurant that fully embodies the British experience. Why? Maybe because you want to showboat in front of a visitor whose homeland knows nothing of savoury pies. Maybe it’s part of an elaborate conversion therapy programme for someone who thinks they hate London. Or maybe you’re just trying to remind a friend who left why they should move back, because clearly your relationship alone isn’t enough to do the trick. Whatever the situation, eventually you’re going to need The Anchor & Hope.
The Anchor & Hope is a cosy boozer with proper wood trimming and smoky dim lighting, a great beer selection, and outdoor seating for those perfect sunny days. It also happens to be one of the most romantic notions of an English gastropub that we have in this town. And the food served here really is amazing.
The menu is Mediterranean-influenced, but the sourcing of local ingredients gives it a British grounding that’s hearty and memorable, but also heartbreakingly temporary. Many a dish has captured our hearts, only to disappear when the ingredients are no longer in season. Luckily, a few things are constant - there’s always a good pasta, and a roast on Sundays. What’s being roasted, however, is again a bit of pot luck.
The Anchor & Hope actually manages to trick you into thinking that this is how pubs and their food have always been. This isn’t true, of course, but it’s a place that does truly feel like classic London. It’s also thankfully far enough away from the tourist traps of its surroundings in Waterloo, but close enough to the river so you can lay down the ‘stroll along the Southbank’ power move should you ever need it. Hopefully dinner will be enough to do the convincing.
The salads here tend to involve light and somewhat magical dressings - we couldn’t get enough of this beetroot one.
We still have dreams of the salt cod pasta that appeared on the menu a while back, but every pasta creation here is a winner. Always fresh and always interesting.
On any given day, there will be a couple of fish dishes on the menu. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the octopus stew.
There’s always a tart and occasionally there’s something with strawberries and cream. You know what to do.