Counter review: Indulge your sweet (and savoury) tooth with brunch at Vauxhall’s new dining destination
As a South Londoner, I regularly pass through Vauxhall, but admittedly have never explored the area’s food and drink establishments until now. So when Zomato invited me to a bloggers’ brunch (#ZomatoMeetup) at one of Vauxhall’s newest dining destinations, I was looking forward to finding another side of SW8 besides a transit stop.
Arriving at Counter, a New York-style bar and brasserie, I was pleasantly surprised. Despite being under railway arches, the contemporary design and artwork really gives the large venue a cool, light and relaxed vibe. There’s bar seating at the counter for those wanting just a drink (they have an extensive wine and cocktail menu), and plenty of booths to cosy into if you’re nursing a hangover.
On Sunday afternoon, I joined a select group of foodie bloggers to try out Counter’s new brunch menu and their special ‘Build Your Own Bellinis’. For £20, you are served a bottle of Prosecco, Peach Puree and Sliced Peaches, so you can make your own cocktail to your tastes. Being able to control the flavours of your cocktail is a rare concept in restaurants so was a welcome idea to me. As much as I was enjoying my Bellinis, I also ordered a pot of Earl Grey Tea, which went down nicely, and some water, which was frequently topped up by the attentive staff.
The brunch menu certainly provided many options, with plenty to satisfy those with savoury or sweet leanings. As a pescatarian, my potential choices can often be limited on brunch menus, but I had plenty to peruse on Counter’s menu. Those with gluten-free and vegetarian diets will also find good options and menu labelling. After seeing a fellow diner a few tables away receiving the same, I plumped for the Baked Eggs, Truffle Mushrooms, Tomato, Spinach and Walnut Pesto (£8.50). Served in a frying pan, the eggs were just on the cusp between soft and hard – exactly how I like them – and the pesto brought out different flavours than I usually expect from egg-based brunch dishes. It was delicious and filling and felt healthier than a usual fry-up. Some of my fellow bloggers opted for Counter’s signature brunch dish – the New England Crab Cake with Artichoke, Smoked Salmon, Poached Egg and Chive Mayonnaise (£12), which I fortunate enough to try a bite off and thoroughly enjoyed.
Although feeling pretty full after my Baked Eggs and several Bellinis, I just about managed to find room for dessert – I felt I couldn’t leave without trying one of the enticing options. As a peanut butter fan and being in the mood for a bit of indulgence, I ordered the Peanut Butter Parfait and Raspberry Jelly and Blondie (£6). The dish was well presented and a perfect size, with the peanut butter flavour not too dominant and the creamy texture really making it easy to digest.
Throughout our boozy brunch, we were well attended to by the friendly and helpful staff. An added bonus was the entertainment from the live pianist, who played requests so we were treated to some classic tracks during our meal. A fun touch in the ladies’ toilets was a poster of Sex And The City character Smith (played by actor Jason Lewis) showcasing his shirtless ripped physique in the Absolut Hunk ad. Overall, I was very impressed and think Counter is a great addition to Vauxhall. The venue is open until late most nights, so would be a good destination for a late night snack and cocktails. I’ll definitely be back again.
- Counter, Arch 50, 7-11 South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1SP. Nearest station: Vauxhall. Tel: 020 3693 9600. For more information, visit the Counter website.
NB. Although Metro Girl was a guest of Counter and Zomato, my views are, as always, my own.
OCTOBER 2018 UPDATE: This venue is permanently closed.
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