All eyes are on the South Bank today as the Underbelly Festival kicks off for another year, with its big-top roster of circus acts, stand-up comedians and family entertainment. To mark the occasion, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite restaurants, bars and pubs on the South Bank and The Cut. Browse our shortened reviews below, then click through to learn more and book a table.
Anchor & Hope
What: This long-standing and well-respected gastropub is still loved by Londoners, despite a ‘no reservations’ policy, dishevelled interiors and jam-packed tables. A menu of Brit-accented dishes features garlic sausage with celeriac and mustard, while much of the wine list is below £25.
Where: 36 The Cut, SE1 8LP
What: Occupying a sexy, Tom Dixon-designed room within the Mondrian London, Dandelyan is a worldwide destination for cocktail aficionados. Mixology maestro Ryan Chetiyawardana has designed a menu of botanically-themed sips, including a Nitrate Manhattan. There are cheaper cocktails in town, but you’ll struggle to find better.
Where: 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
What: Boasting an enviable view of the capital, Gillray’s is bulldog British to the core, decked out with Waterford chandeliers and original cartoons on the walls. The menu majors in excellent steaks, but sides of black pudding, baked bone marrow and duck eggs place it a cut above the competition. The English spirit continues in the bar too, with gins aplenty.
Where: London Marriott County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Southbank, SE1 7PB
Meson Don Felipe
What: This raucous tapas bar is a weathered institution that still manages to pack them in every evening, with regular full houses come the end of the week. The food here (tuna croquetas; chicken livers in cherry sauce; fried bacalao with aïoli) doesn’t always hit the spot, but it’s the Don’s lively atmosphere and value for money which will keep you coming back.
Where: 53 The Cut, SE1 8LF
OXO Tower Restaurant
Why: Home to one of the best views in London, the sophisticated menu here features the likes of chicken with a chestnut cream, bacon and oat crumble, and duck breast with a beetroot purée. The wine list is a cracker and the afternoon tea is also a hit. None of it comes cheap, but with that swoon-worthy view, it’s an ideal date-night location.
Where: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
Sea Containers at Mondrian London
Why: The Mondrian hotel group does a good job of nodding to this venue’s maritime history with witty decorations including a yellow submarine suspended above the bar. The menu is split into dishes from the field, sea and land, with some of our favourites including the crab on toasted sourdough, and the seared Cajun flank steak. Service is top-notch too.
Where: 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
Why: Handy for a pre-theatre dinner or a more leisurely occasion meal, Skylon serves up uncomplicated dishes cooked to a high standard. Expect the likes of Scottish salmon in a lobster bisque, and lamb rump with spiced aubergine and purple sprouting broccoli. Stunning decor and an impressive drinks list are further pluses.
Where: Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
Swan at Shakespeare’s Globe
Why: Star chef Allan Pickett has taken the reins at this best-of-British joint with a homely menu including honey and pepper-glazed duck breast, and steamed lemon sponge with honey and mascarpone ice cream. A global wine list seals the deal, making it perfect pit stop before heading off to see the Bard’s best work.
Where: 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT
Tate Modern Restaurant
Why: The Tate Modern’s flagship restaurant boasts fabulous views (although they disappear when you sit down) alongside a concise menu of carefully-sourced Brit dishes. Pick from the likes of roast chicken breast with a black garlic and truffle mayo, before choosing a wine from the dreamy 100-strong wine list, which features both classic and unusual bottles.
Where: Switch House, Level 9, Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG
For a broader look at what South Bank has to offer, take a look at all the restaurants in the area here .