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Counter Vauxhall Arches

Brunch Counter – Vauxhall Arches

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- Counter Vauxhall Arches

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Counter Vauxhall Arches

Brunch Counter – Vauxhall Arches

Counter Vauxhall Arches

The Vauxhall Arches CounterSo many of my reviews start with ‘Well, it was worth the long journey’ and stoically ‘It’s a bit off the beaten track’. This evening I had no need of such stoicism. Counter Vauxhall Arches is just by Vauxhall Station. That isn’t estate-agent speak for a bracing march away, not a healthy hike away but really just there. If one walks too fast then it’s probable one will miss the entrance.

It’s thought that the name Vauxhall takes its origin from the name of Falkes de Breauté, the head of King John's mercenaries, who owned a large house in the area, which was referred to as Faulke's Hall. The area only became generally known by this name when the celebrated Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens opened to the public in the 1740s.

Opened by the London and South Western Railway as "Vauxhall Bridge Station" on 11 July 1848 this main line extended from Nine Elms to Waterloo, which was called "Waterloo Bridge Station" at that time. Vauxhall is on a viaduct with eight platforms. Interestingly there was a connection with Russians even in those days! The Russian word for a central railway station is вокзал (vokzal), pronounced pretty much as "Vauxhall".The Vauxhall Arches Counter It has long been suggested that a Russian delegation visited the site to view the construction of the railway in 1840, and mistook the name of the station for the generic name for a station.

Counter Vauxhall Arches is unmistakably underneath the arches and it’s taken advantage of the ancient architecture that was never designed for such refined entertaining. These spots have, until recently, been the domain of panel beaters and light engineering but such prime locations are now viewed with a bit more imagination.

If this was a house in New Orleans it would be called a shotgun house. That doesn’t refer to the use of firearms in the restaurant but more an observation that if one shot a pistol at the front door it wouldn’t hit a wall till it exited at the back. Counter Vauxhall Arches must be one of the longest restaurants in London but it remains cosy due to its narrow floor plan.
The Vauxhall Arches Counter
The arches might be old but the architect has introduced contemporary fittings, fixtures and lighting. All those elements complement the restaurant giving it a welcoming and classy air which fits this location – which is definitely on the up and up with embassies expected to move to Vauxhall in the near future. Mirrors and grey booths reflect the past and the very vibrant present.

The menu is eclectic and well-chosen. I know it’s a matter of personal taste but it ticked so many boxes for me. It’s ‘New York meets any number of European cities’ kind of bill-of-fare. The portion sizes are definitely giving a nod to the Big Apple, so come hungry.

Chicken and Tarragon Terrine served with a remarkable Apricot Chutney was my guest’s starter. This terrine is destined to become the signature dish here. Many such patés are made as afterthoughts but this hearty and beautifully presented plate is made of chunky meat divided by ribbons of red pepper and green leafy vegetables. Grilled bread was the garnish and it was all pronounced first class by this man who has a passion for just such preparations. Well worth trying.
The Vauxhall Arches Counter
Chili Blanco, Tortilla, with Avocado Salsa was my comforting starter. This was a substantial and rib-sticking bowl of white bean purée that had a chilli heat that grew rather than exploded. It’s a non-meat chilli that might not look appealing to the uninitiated but it truly was moreish and delicious.

Sea Trout, Courgettes and Samphire, served with Sauce Vierge, was my guest’s healthy main course although he added a plate of Lyonnaise Potatoes. The jewel-like veggies were a light foil to the richness of the trout and it was a sizable fish with moist flesh and crisp skin.

Caesar Salad with Lemon Chicken, Whitebait, and Parmesan Crisp was my ‘light’ main course. The presentation was spectacular with more chicken in chunky slices than I have seen in any one dish for a long while. The meat was glisteningly moist, the croutons were crunchy and the whitebait added seasoning. This truly is a dinner salad. Simple and perfect.

Mille Feuille, Vanilla and Rhubarb was my companion’s dessert. It was a home-made confection of sweet custard with tangy rhubarb and thin pastry wafers – just right for the season. The menu will change with those seasons and will offer daily specials to tempt the many regulars.
The Vauxhall Arches Counter
Counter Vauxhall Arches is attractive. Its food fits the location. It’s a casual restaurant that has already been noticed and it stands to make a mark on this corner of the metropolis.

Monday – Thursday: 07:00 - 00:30
Friday: 07:00 - 01:30
Saturday: 08:00 - 01:30
Sunday: 08:00 - 00:30

Counter Vauxhall Arches
Arch 50
South Lambeth Place

Phone: 020 3693 9600

Visit Counter Vauxhall Arches here

food and travel reviews

Brunch Counter – Vauxhall Arches

Counter Vauxhall One could easily miss it! Counter truly is under the arches at Vauxhall station. Its entrance is understated but don’t pass by. This is worth a visit at any time of day. It has great character and is something of a Tardis. Its narrow frontage opens onto London’s longest restaurant, its 175 covers in a 200-foot long arch! Yes, a large restaurant but its architecture contrives to create an intimate ambiance.

Counter is a brasserie, a breakfast venue, a lunch café, a convivial dinner spot and a venue for late night revels. Some days see Counter opening at 7am and closing as late as 1.30am. The atmosphere and clientele change over those hours, although many of those visitors are regulars. The location couldn’t be more convenient but it’s the food and the service that are the cornerstones to success in a city that boasts plenty of choice.

I have visited for dinner and also for a hot winter afternoon snack but this was my first daylight encounter with Counter. Brunch is a casual meal and one to be shared. One sits comfortably, ponders menus, chats with friends, makes plans for the rest of the day and eats …and drinks. Brunch isn’t a meal to hurry.

Counter is vibrant at any time of day or night. Brunch finds tables filled with animated hungry folks who want either classic breakfast offerings or more lunchy temptations. Along with their chosen plates they will likely enjoy a Bottomless Bellini, a glass of prosecco or, my favourite, a Bloody Mary!Counter Vauxhall

Brunch with some sort of fizz is standard these days but this was the first brunch in ages that has offered me a Bloody Mary. It’s more spiced than others I have tried but was absolutely to my taste. If you aren’t interested in a hit of zing then order one without chilli …I think that would be called an alcoholic tomato juice and would be, in my opinion, standing in Mary’s shadow. I hope Counter is never tempted to change that recipe for the sake of the timid.

Counter has familiar egg dishes such as the ubiquitous Eggs Royale with Smoked Salmon, poached eggs, hollandaise, and a muffin, as well as the original Eggs Benedict, but they also offer some departures which are worth trying. Chicken Fried Rabbit was a new one on me. I love rabbit, yes, I admit it – I enjoy eating bunny. It’s a mild-flavoured meat and it should be more popular as it’s sustainable. The ‘chicken-fried’ element refers to the coating which is similar to that used for poultry or, in the US, for chicken fried steak, which is a brunch staple.
Counter Vauxhall

The Counter brunch introduced me to Spiced Avocado. This was served with poached eggs, and presented on toasted sourdough from a local baker. I also had a serving of crispy bacon which complemented the creamy avocado. The spicing was delicate and didn’t overpower the green fruit – or is it a vegetable?

My guest, a man with an appetite for all things meaty, ordered the substantial Pastrami Sourdough open sandwich. The slices of cured beef were topped with fried eggs, melted Swiss cheese and hollandaise sauce. This would not have been out of place in any New York diner.

Baked Alaska Bomb was that still-peckish companion’s dessert, who proffered the lame excuse that he hadn’t had that flavourful rabbit starter. This sweet tower consisted of ricotta ice cream, blueberry sponge, blueberry compote with a cap of grilled (I suspect blow-torched) glistening meringue. This was a delightful presentation of a dessert which was full of berry flavour but it was that ricotta ice cream that was outstanding. This is perhaps some of the best ice cream I have had in any casual restaurant anywhere. Don’t miss this one.
Counter Vauxhall

I had expected to enjoy Brunch at Counter Vauxhall Arches and I did. It’s a casual spot with polish. The menu offers something for every taste and appetite and the service is friendly. I am now devoted to spiced avocado with a side of Bloody Mary!

Opening times - Bar and Brasserie
Monday to Thursday: 7am – 12.30am
Friday: 7am – 1.30am
Saturday: 9am – 1.30am
Sunday: 9am – 12.30am

Counter Vauxhall Arches
(Vauxhall Station)
50 South Lambeth Place

Phone: 020 3693 9600 


Visit Counter here

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