Friday, 30 April 2010

Young Vic, Waterloo

When the Young Vic reopened after extensive renovation in 2007, it drew a lot of media attention. The new space was nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize and the theatre bar (officially called The Cut) soon became popular with more than just the pre-theatre crowd. In its early days I had a couple of decent meals here prior to seeing plays. It was bar food, yes, but it showed a degree of imagination (I remember a very happy sandwich involving smoked mozzarella) and an attempt was made tie in some dishes with whatever was being staged in the theatre at time.

Having recently booked tickets with an actress friend to see Women Beware Women at the National Theatre, I decided to have dinner here beforehand but I must admit I was rather disappointed on this occasion.

The large bar area is split over two levels and has a balcony overlooking the street which is always busy when the sun’s out and often when it’s not. It’s lively and somewhat noisy place, especially in the hour or so before a performance starts. On the ground floor half of the space is given over to tables for those eating. The menu consists mainly of burgers and salads with a few slightly more ambitious dishes.

I think I might need to work on my enunciation. My initial request for two kir royales resulted in the arrival at our table of two pints of Kirin. This was soon rectified though we had to explain to the waitress what a kir royale was, which seemed odd considering this is first and foremost a bar and one with a lengthy cocktail list.

We started with the deep fried goats’ cheese with honey (£5.75), which we shared between us. Now look at that – doesn’t that look a bit pallid? This was pastier than an English girl's legs after a long winter (and I know whereof I speak). It was also rather lacking in the oozy, gooey quality that you want from a puck of fried cheese. The pomegranate and chive garnish at least added texture, a bit of crunch but, really, this was not great. That is some sad cheese, right there.

To follow I ordered the Portobello mushroom sandwich with Jura cheese (£6.50). This was filled with a generous amount of meaty mushroom but as a whole it was somewhat overwhelmed by a huge, cotton-woolly bap. The sandwich also contained what I initially read as red onion marmalade but what turned out to be red onions and marmalade - an unexpected addition but the note of sweetness worked. Even so the blanket of bread swamped everything and I had to de-lid half of it.

The actress went for the house burger (£7), which she found reasonably moist but a bit overcooked for her tastes and rather overblessed with greenery. We had side orders of chips each. At £2.75 each they were large bowls and one between the two of us would probably have been sufficient. The actress is one of the only other people I know who prefers mustard to ketchup on her chips, so we both took the chance to indulge our particular perversion together.

We only had a narrow window of time before the performance (which ruled out trying for a table at the nearby Anchor and Hope) so we didn’t go in for dessert. We tottered off to the theatre with full bellies - but this place used to offer a little bit more than that. I’m bound to come back for drinks, as I like the Young Vic and visit often, but I will eat elsewhere next time.

The Cut, 66 The Cut, London SE1 8LZ 020 7928 4400


  1. Hi Natasha, the Young Vic is one of my favourite theatres in London I have seen some great plays there over the years. I was very pleased to see how amazing it now looks but gutted now to learn of the quality of food, shocking! They ought to do something about it. A place a really recommend is Meson don Felipe just across the street, it is a tapas place so mainly meaty though, but there are some vegetarian options, the manchego cheese with quince jam and walnuts comes to mind and is delish! Love your blog by the way!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  2. Thanks for dropping by. I ate here a couple of times after it re-opened and the standard was definitely higher. the menu a bit more inventive. But, as you say, the Young Vic is a great theatre and I've already been back since to see Eurydice. Might have to give Meson don Felipe a try next time though.