Once upon a time (12 years ago) the term ‘gastropub’ was shrouded in mystery and intrigue. What fruity happenstance doth occur in the synthesis of gastro and pub, they asked?
Along came The Anchor & Hope, whose answer was as simple then as it is today – really good food served alongside pints upon pints of ales, bitters and lagers in a space evocative of a good ol’ English pub. Pretty good, eh?
Located a short walk from Waterloo station near the Southbank, The Anchor & Hope has been going strong for 19 years and was one of the first establishments that made London the spiritual capital of gastropub culture. You know how every blue-eyed human supposedly shares the same original ancestor? Well for meat-orientated London restaurants that ancestor is St. John’s, where chef Jonathan Jones mastered the nose-to-tail cooking that finds authentic expression at The Anchor & Hope.
Today the interior is similarly as rustic and weather-worn as it was then – jam-packed tables, battered furniture, smoky dim lighting and saloon-style wooden flooring spread out over a space full of bustle and disharmony. Naturally, the flavours are big, bold and bolshy and come from a selection of butcher’s offcuts and wild pickings. The portions are incredibly generous and the wine (mostly from low-intervention growers) is served in tumblers rather than traditional glasses – we’re all for culinary anarchy.
At the Anchor & Hope you’ll find the classic staples of a good meat menu alongside flashes of European embellishment. Look no further than the middlewhite pork with chickpeas, rosemary, lemon and greek yoghurt, or the seven hour lamb shoulder, a true labour of love with harissa and tomatoes. You can also get a whole cracked Dorset crab which comes with chips and mayonnaise. Paired with their meaty predecessors the desserts are a subtler affair – there’s a flourless chocolate cake and buttermilk pudding with Yorkshire rhubarb to finish everything off with.
It turns out that when you marry the English Countryside with the liveliness of the Mediterranean in restaurant form, the result makes for a pretty special South London eatery. So dust off your boxing gloves and get jostling, because this is an incredibly popular place to drink and dine.
NOTE: The Anchor & Hope is open daily – you can find out more, and book, HERE.
The Anchor & Hope | 36 The Cut, London SE1 8LP
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