Pre-Theatre Dining at The Cut, Southwark.
The Cut is an all-day bar-café-restaurant housed in the Young Vic theatre in Southwark. It is a relaxing and inviting space – brick walls, wood, metal, New York Style lighting – and is always packed in the evenings before the show begins. I have visited countless times over the years as I frequent the Young Vic that promotes innovative productions. Usually, I have a drink at the bar or a quick bite or bar snack. Invited to review the restaurant, it was the first time I had sat down to a three-course meal.
With simple wooden tables and chairs and some of the friendliest staff I have had the pleasure to be served by, The Cut is a great venue to meet up with friends after work or before a performance. I was there to see Tree . The Young Vic is one of those theatres where it is almost always worth booking tickets for whatever is on.
We began the evening with sparkling water for me and a beer for my companion. A large bowl of Giaraffa olives – green, plump and flavourful Sicilians – accompanied the drinks and gave us time to peruse the menu.
The wine list helpfully sells by the glass, carafe or bottle which is a helpful solution for those who don’t want to be too inebriated by the time the play begins. There is also a long list of cocktails with theatrical names like Romeo’s Revenge.
Although I was tempted by the soup of the day – chilled avocado, cucumber and herbed crème fraîche – we opted to share the mezze selection. Five attractive ceramic saucers arrived with an assortment of tapas from Italian, through Spanish to the Middle East. Arancini were hot, crispy and delicately herby. Calamari was tender and pepped up by a smoked chilli jam. A plate of halloumi slices looked tempting, dressed with shredded mint, pomegranate seeds and a harissa dressing.
Prawn and chorizo mini skewers had a mild garlic mayo. My favourite dish was roasted aubergine with za’atar, pomegranate seeds, dill and parsley. A few pitta on the side would have been good to mop up all the sauces. Only later did I notice there was bread and butter that could be ordered.
For mains, we chose Devon crab linguine which looked very appetising. There was a generous serving of pasta and crab meat but the dish was under seasoned.
Fishcakes (haddock) were served as croquettes which makes a welcome change from the standard round patty. They were tasty and flecked with herbs and had a good balance of potato to fish. They were accompanied by a chunky tartare sauce and a good portion of chips as well as a fresh side salad.
The portions were so generous that I, for once, had no space for dessert. However, Gelato Mio ice cream needs no space really, so I ordered a scoop of dark chocolate and another of blood orange sorbet.
WOW – this was good, so much so that next time I am at the Young Vic I am just going for dessert. My companion’s sticky toffee pudding was equally good. The pudding was light and anointed by a gorgeously sticky toffee sauce and oodles of clotted cream.
Although we ate far too much – those generous portions – one can eat as much or as little as one pleases at The Cut. I like this pick and mix approach to a pre-theatre menu rather than the three-course prix-fixe option on offer at restaurants that use pre-theatre menus to fills seats during the early evening slot.
The Cut is open all day – pop in for brunch, lunch, a drink or an evening meal. Get a ticket for the show that is on and you will be set for a great night out. It’s an independent restaurant and is close enough to the Old Vic and the National to work if you want to eat before going on to a show at one of the other theatres in the area
66 The Cut
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The Cut, Young Vic, Southwark
Excellent F&B offering from an independent cafe operating within the Young Vic Theatre. Everything from coffee and cakes to a full three-course meal - at prices that are realistic.