The Anchor & Hope

36 The Cut
Waterloo, London
Tel: 020 7928 9898 Southwark 0.1 miles

Universally praised Waterloo restaurant/pub with founders from St John, The Fox and the original gastro pub, The Eagle. Arrive early to avoid disappointment due to the 'no bookings' policy.

Mon: 5pm-11pm
Sun: 12.30pm-5pm (one lunch sitting at 2pm)

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Matthew Fort's review of The Anchor & Hope (The Guardian)
Giles Coren's review of The Anchor and Hope (The Times)
AA Gill's review of The Anchor and Hope (The Times)

The Anchor & Hope reviews

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Visited this pub on Sunday. If you like rustic surroundings(timber tables), paper napkins, plate sharing, no choice of menu, only one set of cutlery throughout meal and coffee with boiled milk - all at over £35 per head - then this is the place for you.

Useful review? 1
 by SueT, 13 Nov 2012
Visited today and I have to say I was disappointed with the pub. Slow service, no stem wine glasses just tumblers, poor menu at lunchtime. Despite asking for no butter on the vegetables, they came smothered in butter and the lemon sole, which was very poor indeed, was sent back (it was small, lukewarm, tasteless and had far too much brown flesh on the fish). Whilst they did not charge me for this meal, the staff were stand off-ish and very brusque indeed about the whole incident. It spoilt what should have been a nice family lunch.

In short: poor service, poor food and poor value for money.

Useful review?
 by DSMITH, 21 Jul 2012
We ate here before theatre on a Saturday night. The service was very poor. We were anxious to get to the theatre on time, but the waiter was sarcastic, saying they they did this every night, and made us feel unwelcome. They need to remember that this is routine for them, but not for everybody. This experience was a disappointment after what I had heard. The food was adequate. We won't be going again!

Useful review?
 by broughton777, 04 Mar 2012
The Anchor & Hope was recommended in the AA city pack guide for London. After a morning at the Tate Modern, we went to The Anchor & Hope for Sunday lunch. The set menu food and service were fantastic. Really good and highly recommended.

Useful review?
 by George English, 13 Jun 2011
I visited The Anchor & Hope on a Friday evening after work. My girlfriend and I decided to go for an early dinner before heading out. We arrived at the pub around 5pm and were able to grab a table in the bar area for a couple of cocktails (they had two specials on for the evening). I managed to speak to the chap running the tables for the restaurant and our name was put on the list for the 6pm sitting.

At 6pm we were led through to a table which had 6 places set. We were sat next to two other couples, which was not what we were expecting; however, no problems with this set up at all - in fact, it was quite a nice change. Within 10 minutes one of the couples had ordered, and then 5 minutes later the other couple had ordered. We were left for 30 minutes until we managed to flag down one of the zooming waiters (it is very hectic and they are constantly running backwards and forwards) and request that we order. He took our order for food and wine and carried on. We then realised that in the rush we had forgotten to order any sides to go with our mains so flagged down a different waitress, who recommended a couple of items which she then passed on to the initial waiter. He then shouted over for us to remind him of what we had ordered.

We got back to chatting and then 10 minutes later our starters arrived. Both were very good: 1 terrine and 1 deep fried pig's head (which was delicious). This was all well and good, however we explained to the waitress that our wine had yet to arrive. We had decided to go for a reasonably decent bottle (mid-list) and expected to enjoy this before our food arrived. She rectified this and our wine was brought.

After the starters the mains did come in good time: 1 veal and 1 pork, again both very good. When we had finished the mains we were asked if we would like desserts, which we declined and asked for a coffee, but in about 10 minutes' time as we still had wine left. This request resulted in a look of disgust from the waitress, who explained that she could not do that as there were people waiting for tables, so she would be back in 2 minutes. Low and behold, she came back and we ordered coffee, which arrived in a matter of seconds. Likewise, when requesting the bill this also was acted upon with lightning speed. So much speed, in fact, that I was unable to finish my sentence when requesting the bill as I needed to point out that we had a tab behind the bar. Before I had finished what I was saying, the bill was on the table and the waiter was asking for a card. By this point I was extremely frustrated, agitated, angry, etc. I made the point that a waiter should wait and listen to what was being said to them, and that this was clearly an area they needed to work on.

All in all, dinner and a couple of drinks for two came to £85. For £85 I expect a good long dining experience where you feel looked after and valued by a restaurant and certainly not rushed to get out of the door. Sadly, The Anchor & Hopes' wonderful food is let down by the terrible service and general attitude that goes with it. They are a victim of their own success; the idea of not being able to reserve tables is bizarre (even the waitress agreed with this), as they are just too overwhelmed by customers that they make too many mistakes. The gentleman next to me who ordered the pork for main (and there are only 3-4 mains to choose from) was served the veal. When paying the prices they are charging you expect a certain level of service and you simply do not get that here. A real shame.

Useful review?
 by Mattp529, 11 Dec 2010
Worth the wait if you can be bothered. After 3 pints of Red Stripe though, you will be pretty chilled out... and that's about how long it takes to get a free table. Food is usually majestic and the staff know their stuff.

Useful review?
 by Kerry-in-London, 20 Nov 2010
An amazing pub for Sunday dinner. It is like heading for your own private dinner. Menu is limited to what is the speciality of the day, but this is not a bad thing. The food was amazing. There was so much food on the set menu and I was full to burst by the end of it. £35 a head (no alcohol) but was a brilliant 3-hour-long Sunday dinner with great food that you'll not be disappointed with. Just don't go expecting a vast amount of variety, but head there looking for quality and that's what you get in abundance.

Useful review? 2
 by MustangS (4 reviews), 24 Oct 2010
The wait was absolutely worth it, but I have just one quibble: no stem glasses for wines that are served by the glass. Tumblers only. A silly and unbecoming policy for such a superior dining destination.

Useful review? 1
 by Dustin St Clair, 27 Apr 2009
Always a pleasure. Hadn't planned on eating, but grabbed a corner of the large table in the bar, ordered and was served quickly. As has been said before, you don't go to The Anchor on a timetable - sure you might get in and out for a show if you rock up at 6.00, but don't bank on it. Go there for a lovely evening, and you will definitely have one... just leave the stopwatch at home.

Useful review? 1
 by 71simon, 26 Mar 2009
I came to the Anchor & Hope with mixed expectations; I have eaten food before and considered it to be one of the more enjoyable experiences in my otherwise dull and fruitless life.

On arriving at the venue I was disappointed by the lack of tables outside, as I enjoy the aesthetic of a well-tabled exterior. Upon entering my disappointment developed considerably as nobody told me what to do. There I stood, feeling like a right ninny whilst waiters bustled about like ninnies, carrying plates of food and sometimes even GLASSES!!!
After 20 minutes of hovering by the busy pass and looking sternly at everyone, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Approaching a senior-looking member of staff who was idling his time away talking to a cluster of peasants about some table they were waiting for, I rapped heavily on his shoulder to alert him of my presence. Amazingly, I was IGNORED until he had finished his conversation.

Things degressed from there as I was told that I would have to WAIT until a table cleared next door despite the fact that someone was TAKING AGES eating their pudding. In desperation I turned to the bar and was confronted by a peon who looked like he may or may not have been thinking about something else. When I demanded my usual he had the barefaced cheek to ask me what that was despite the fact that even my OWN WIFE knows I drink nothing but Merlot! I was shown a list full of wines I didn't recognise. When I finally succumbed to the barman's seemingly disgruntled attempts to 'recommend soemthing', he produced a glass that was even smaller than my own heavily disguised sense of self worth and as an alternative offered me a 'caraffe'. ME - A CARAFFE? Next they'll be serving it in a soiled welly (although I'd actually quite like that).

After waiting for a whole hour of my precious time, I was finally seated. I don't remember much about the food because the wine had gone straight to my head, but I remember being outraged at the grouse because I used to own a grouse factory and I know everything in the world ever so there.

In summary (advice for likeminded individuals):

They don't take bookings.
They don't serve wine in stem glasses, especially if you threaten them.
Even though you think you are more important than everyone else, you're probably not.

Useful review? 1
 by A. Regular, 17 Feb 2009
What sort of an imbecile complains about waiting at the Anchor and Hope? They do not do reservations! If you want to eat their excellent food, you plan to go there and wait and have a few nice pints. If you don't want to wait, dont go there!

Useful review? 1
 by justinunsworth, 07 Feb 2009
The food here was great (e.g. rabbit with savoy cabbage). However, we arrived 6.30 and had to wait for a table for four until 8.15. If you're happy to have a drink in the very busy bar then it's not a problem, but I'm sure the place would function far better with a bookings policy.

Useful review?
 by sexypara (2 reviews), 09 Oct 2008
This is my favourite place to eat in London and, unlike so many of your (clearly impatient) other reviewers, I know to get there for drinks an hour before I'd like to eat and 2 hours before I have to eat.

The food is fantastic, as are the staff. Please don't be put off by Mr & Mrs immediate gratification below! (To whom I strongly recommend one of the well known burger chains if you want really fast food - with quality that is commensurate!)

Useful review?
 by Darren Ball, 08 Oct 2008
Decided to give it another go after my last bad experience of not getting a table after 1 hour. Again arrived and again a queue. Asked how long I would have to wait and was told "No idea". Decided to wait, but after 90 minutes no table. However there were empty tables. When I asked about them I was told these were reserved. Decided to leave...

Useful review? 1
 by dr8309, 16 Jul 2008
Isn't it strange how all the people confused about the no reservations regime are the ones feeling badly treated. The service is superb as long as you don't put your frustrations on the staff, who will do their utter best to get you seated asap and make your evening memorable. You don't go to A&H for just the great meal, but the whole complete experience of shared joy.

Useful review?
 by theturtle, 23 Apr 2008
It always seems to me that London holds some real w*****s of customers. The point of this place seemed to me to be simple, approachable, yet interesting food - let the ingredients shine kind of thing, and they did. Friendly, relaxed service reflected in the atmosphere - a lovely place. Great wine list, not great beer selection (lovely pint of Young's though) but enough to get by. It seems to me if you have to wait you have to wait. I can't understand how anyone who knows this can complain. But, as I say, this is London.

Useful review?
 by Crunchie, 27 Mar 2008
The main dishes were very good, though a poor choice of vegetables. No bookings means no advance bookings but they keep a list of people who arrive and when they are 'fully booked' you have to wait up to 2 hours for a table. For a pub, it had a limited choice of drinks. Staff were OK - helpful in the dining area, surly behind the bar.

Useful review?
 by guysw16, 02 Mar 2008
I'm very confused by the reviews below. This is a fantastic pub with brillliant food. You can't book a table, so it's pot-luck if you get one... but that's just the way it goes. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Useful review?
 by charlie.m.v.byron, 19 Feb 2008
The worst service in London. I've never been so badly treated, anywhere!

Useful review? 1
 by maddox77, 18 Oct 2007
You are going to have to wait unless you and your companions time your arrival. That is because it is popular. You will find lots of unpopular places that will serve you straight away. It is popular because they know what they are doing. They have rules that some reviewers dislike. They are to favour the majority. By definition, they do not favour the minority, so some will moan about not getting a table until the whole party have arrived. My old boss had a FIFO maxim... the first bit is 'fit in or'. Try it.

Useful review?
 by Bowgreave, 17 Jun 2007

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