The Archduke in Waterloo
There’s a variety of factors that influence us when we book a certain restaurant. Even if it should be all about food, that’s not always the case; it may be the atmosphere, the view, the live music – or just because you know they treat you better – that makes you choose where to go for dinner.
The Archduke is situated in Waterloo, right in between the station and the Southbank Centre. It’s an area for culture-driven people and so is the restaurant. With a peak of popularity before and after the shows at the National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall, the vibrancy of this place makes it a good choice for either a catch-up with a friend or an informal business talk.
Accompanied by a smooth backing track of live jazz, we start our dinner with King Prawns Chargrilled with Garlic Butter and Asparagus Spears with Poached Egg, Parmesan and Hollandaise Sauce. The prawns are pretty simple – and not served in their entirety as I would expect – whereas the asparagus are more satisfactory: fresh and fleshy, they make a complete, fulfilling dish. We enjoy the courses with a glass of sweet Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc by Wairau River, from New Zealand, and a more defined and sophisticated Viognier by La Playa from Chile – respectively.
The selection of mains is more substantial: meat-wise there are six very inviting cuts of Scotch beef, from a 280g sirloin to a 600g côte de boeuf; on chargrill there’s also a good offer of fish as well as lamb, chicken and burgers – again Scotch beef.
We go with a 400g T-bone (basically sirloin and fillet together) and the Roast Fillet of Sea Bass Served with Crushed Potatoes, Spinach, Tomato and Dill Cream. The cut is big, tender, tasty: it’s a very good piece of meat, cooked medium rare as requested, and the glass of Argentinian Malbec by ES Vino goes well with it.
The sides don’t shine (it’s a £30 dish after all…) but the chips are up to a decent standard. The seabass and the potatoes are a bit bland, with no defined flavours – fish seems to be an option primarily for those who are not in the mood for meat.
The desserts are all very classic; we try the New York Cheesecake and Warm Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream. They are both quite delicious, especially the brownie with its hot and cold contrast and an intense chocolaty aftertaste.
The Archduke is where you want to go for a relaxed and lively meal before or after your visit to the Southbank Centre: it has the right music, the right people and the right atmosphere for a pleasant dinner out. The restaurant might not be the perfect place for foodies, but it’s surely the perfect place to have a good time.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Taylor Smith (except 1)
To book a table at The Archduke, 153 Concert Hall Approach London SE1 8XU, call 020 7928 9370 or enquire here.