Vintage Vauxhall

A new date to pencil into your calendar. Vintage Vauxhall will run every 2nd Sunday of the month from March 12 in the old fire station on the corner of Albert Embankment and Black Prince Road. Organised by Naomi Knight of Bath Vintage, these markets will see up to 60 dealers showcase some of the best decorative antiques and vintage objects.

We are even more excited about opening up a monthly pop-up cafe at the fair as well. Serving great coffee and light breakfast and lunch items, we look forward to seeing you at Vintage Vauxhall.

COUNTER is two

Has it really been two years since we opened our doors to Vauxhall? Yes, it has been. So time for a little bit of a make-over. As you have already seen, we updated our logo and web page. As Vauxhall is changing and evolving, we will continue to change and evolve. This year will see a lot more changes. The great thing is that we will see a lot of openings, from the new US Embassy on Nine Elms to South Bloc on Goding Street. But most importantly, we remain committed as ever to serving the best food and drinks in Vauxhall. So check out our new menu. Breakfast and brunch remain American-inspired as ever while our lunch and dinner are definitively tacking to the French side this spring. But don't worry, the Counter burger stays.

And as a little treat, here is a picture from just over2 years ago. Regulars will recognise the view today.

Building the bar

COUNTER at home

Sitting at home and in need of some good food? Let us take the strain off your kitchen. You can now order all our foods from the comfort of your sofa via Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Both have our all-day menu available from 11:30am in the morning. Uber also delivers our breakfast menu from 9am in the morning until 11:30am weekdays and 5:00pm on weekends. So now you can have COUNTER brunch at home.

Our burger, now also available for home delivery via Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Our burger, now also available for home delivery via Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Wedding receptions at COUNTER

Is 2017 the year for you to get married? Or at least engaged? We at COUNTER would love to host your celebration.

If you are getting married in Lambeth, we are less than 5 minutes walk from the Lambeth Register Office, so perfectly placed for lunch or a reception afterwards.

For bigger parties and receptions, we can host up to 125 people in our private hire room, BackCOUNTER Lounge. Check out our private hire info.

 

The Vauxhall Gallery District

Looking to explore the world of modern and contemporary arts? Vauxhall might not be on top of your list, but this January you can make an enjoyable afternoon out of a walk around Vauxhall and its galleries:

Gasworks in 155 Vauxhall Street is taking part in the Collective Matter exhibition, organised in conjunction with Tate Britain. And from Jan 26 they will show Female Executioner, a Vauxhall typical exploration of 19th century queer gender relations.

Continue your exploration of Collective Matter at the Beaconsfield Gallery, half-way up to Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery. Housed in the historic Lambeth Ragged School, the building itself is worth a visit. Next to the Beaconsfield you can see the Chelsea Fringe 2015 garden design by Barbara Hepworth, supported by our local business improvement district Vauxhall One.

Continue up the street to the Newport Street Gallery. Until March 19 they present some of Gavin Turk's best works. And the building itself is equally impressive.

On your way back cross the old Vauxhall Pleasure Garden and visit the Cabinet Gallery. Vauxhall's newest opening will show Jana Euler's finest works from January 18.

After all that it's time to treat yourself at COUNTER to a cup of tea and a dessert, or even our Pleasure Garden Platter, while looking at the largest selection of old prints of the Pleasure Garden in the middle of London's longest restaurant. Or stay in Vauxhall and catch a performance in the evening at Above The Stag or The Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

And who said there was no culture in Vauxhall?

New headchef, new menu

STAKES RAISED ON VAUXHALL’S EMERGING FOOD SCENE

COUNTER comes of age with New Head Chef and exciting new menu

Since opening in February 2014, COUNTER has established a cult-following in the next frontier of London’s food scene – Vauxhall. Likened to London’s own version of Hell’s Kitchen or the infamous Meatpacking district, the regeneration of the diverse area continues at break-neck speed ahead of the US Embassy completion in 2017.

COUNTER have just raised the stakes (or is that steaks?) on the food scene emerging in the diverse area, with new Head Chef Mahrez Loukal and an exciting new winter menu. Like every well-kept secret, the cat eventually gets let out of the bag and this new menu firmly secures COUNTER’s place on the London food map. This Grande Dame of SW8 is definitely one to watch!

Fresh from five years in Paris at La Rotonde de la Vilette, La Belleviloise and opening La Petite Halle, Loukal brings a wealth of experience from his French influence and Turkish roots. His London backstory includes leading brigades as Head Chef at Quaglino’s, Chez Bruce and Del Aziz, indisputable institutions within the city’s food scene. This knowledge and expertise promising that COUNTER’s new menu, under Loukal, delivers a true culinary tour de force for Vauxhall.

“It’s all about creating subtle but intense flavours – simple, quality produce cooked well,” says Loukal. “I wanted to bring some wow-factor and a sense of occasion to the menu, whilst keeping true to COUNTER’s roots of truly accessible all-day fare.”

The new menu sees an expanded grill section, the addition of more delicate plays on flavour and texture teamed with deliciously heavier-hitting, wintery favourites and true brasserie classics.

Menu highlights include:

STARTERS

·       Wild sea trout & Granny Smith apple tartare, chives & crème fraîche £9 

·       Pan roast whole wood pigeon, wild mushroom & jus gras £11

·       Hand-dived scallop ceviche, black radish, salsify, vinaigrette £9

MAINS

·       Tartiflette, Reblochon, Jersey Royals, lardons, chives, parsley £13

·       COUNTER Jar, slow-cooked ox cheek, tarbais bean cassoulet £17

·       Honey glazed wild salmon fillet grilled artichokes & dandelion £18

·       Braised French trim lamb shank, Imam Bayildi £19

Whilst the Tartiflette and COUNTER Jar are already poised to be South London staples, Loukal’s signature touches include; the addition of creamy Morbier Cheese to COUNTER Burger and a delicious new Grilled Chicken Burger with Comté and minted yoghurt. Yes, that’s burgers with Franco-American twist!

A dozen freshly-shucked Jersey Oysters served with shallot vinegar and two glasses of Perrier Jouet Champagne sees a truly hedonistic update of the brasserie’s Pleasure Gardens Platter £38 – just in time for those Holiday celebrations.

Looking for the perfect pairing? The carefully curated wine list has a combines French classics with the best the Americas have to offer – including a brand new addition from The Fingerlakes in upstate, N.Y. Settle in at the brass-topped bar for a great cocktail that also carries an extensive selection of craft beers. At COUNTER Happy Hour happens every day of the week.

A closer look at our beers


While we often talk about our cocktails and wines, we are equally proud of our carefully curated beer selection that covers most types of beer. We've focused on some unusual brewers to introduce you to the best of America and France in London.

For the lager fans, choose from:
COUNTER Biere - this pale lager from the Continent is our ever popular draft beer for Happy Hour and, at 3.9% ABV, is a great session lager
Vedett Extra Blonde - an export draft pilsner from Belgium (so very close to France), offering full-bodied, thirst-quenching refreshment from start to finish. With a slightly bitter aftertaste to keep you on your toes. As they say, blondes have more fun...
Brooklyn Lager - a classic American dark lager, brewed since 1988 right in the heart of Williamsburg, close to our spiritual home Manhattan. A pioneer of American craft beers.
Point Amber Lager - a caramel-heavy classic amber lager from the Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin. Enjoy it during our Happy Hour for only £4 a bottle.

For ale lovers, choose from:  
Goose Island IPA - all the way from Chicago and served as one of our four drafts. The result is a hop lover’s dream with a fruity aroma, set off by a dry malt middle, and long hop finish.
Brixton Electric IPA - amuch shorter journeybut still all the hoppiness you could ask for.
India Pale Ales were brewed originally in England for export to India, and were extra-hopped to maintain their taste on their journey. While journeys are faster today, the taste of IPA remains the same.
Point Pale Ale - from Wisconsin, makes another great session beer with a lighter malt body.
British Bulldog - a classic English bitter from the Westerham Brewery which is reviving Kentish brewing traditions.

For stout lovers we have The Kernel Porter, a classic London-style stout beer brewed in Bermondsey.

We look forward to have you join us for beer and snacks.

Metro reviews COUNTER's brunch

COUNTER's Bottomless Bellini Brunch is becoming ever more popular. For only £25 we offer 90 minutes of free flowing prosecco or bellinis plus two courses from our brunch menu. So whether it's muesli or the COUNTER Burger, you can have it all for brunch.

And now the team from Metro have put us to the test, and yes, they did like it. See below their wonderful write-up from today. They are giving us 4 stars and felt happy being "topped up in the manner of rich uncles".

A special dinner

As a New-York-style brasserie we decided to celebrate both Independence Day and Bastille Day with a special dinner. Head chef Dan Blucert has designed a special six plate menu priced £35 with two starters, mains and desserts from each side of the Atlantic for you to enjoy. There’s also the option to upgrade with matching wines for just £50.

When? Saturday 9 July, 7pm

Where? Arch 50, South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1SR

Tickets from £35 for six courses – visit counterrestaurants.com/july9

Miss Hope Springs Up Close & Personal

Up Close and Truly Personal with the Sensational Miss Hope Springs @ COUNTER Vauxhall Arches

Internationally acclaimed musical comedy sensation and West End cabaret star, Miss Hope Springs will be making a fabulous return to COUNTER Vauxhall Arches on Saturday 16 July 2016 for an up close and very personal – live piano show.

Singing songs from an award-winning, all original self-penned repertoire which includes hysterical tales from her disastrous ‘Ritz to the pits’ life story, expect this to be a sell-out show. 

Still wearing the sequins she left the Pink Pelican Casino with in 1972, the show promised to bring her smouldering blend of finger snapping pop, romantic rhumbas and sassy bossa novas in what has been hailed as ‘a laugh out loud-move you to tears show’.

What’s more, for the first time ever Miss Hope Springs will be taking over the main brasserie at COUNTER – with a ‘not to be missed’ catwalk style performance, sashaying her way through the 200ft arch and gossiping with guests.

When? Saturday 16 July, 8pm

Where? Arch 50, South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1SR

Tickets are price £15 – visit counterrestaurants.com/upclose

June enCOUNTERs

Welcome to summer in Vauxhall

Every where you look something is blooming or fruiting in summer and Counter News is no exception, sprouting in your direction.

New menu

Our new summer menu rolls out on June 1st. Ever popular scallops come with a Japanese twist while the Chicken Fried Rabbit is brought back for an encore. In the calorie countin' chorus, our five fit salads prove delicious can be healthy.
The Counter Burger is secure in the spotlight  but our new Giant Grilled Tiger Prawns are a star in the making.
Finally, to cool you for the steamy city streets, save some room for an ice cream, now freshly made in-house by Dan and his high kickin' kitchen cuties.

Summer drinks

As the evenings get longer, we decided to give you a whole bouquet of new summer drinks. 
For the vinos amongst you we now have three great French roses to choose from. To tickle your interest, one is a Malbec and one a Sancerre. 
Beer fans get a whole selection of champagne style beers. If that just sounds too complicated, we also welcome Goose Island IPA from Chicago and Angry Orchard Hard Cider from the Hudson Valley on our draft lines.
If you like it mixed, new summer cocktails like the Coyote or Notre Dame should keep you happy.
Don't forget Happy Hour every day from 5pm to 8pm.

Our supplier of the month: Earl of Bedlam

Mark Wesley and Lady C are collectively “Earl of Bedlam” a Kennington based fashion house that takes its name from the previous life of the Imperial War Museum - the Bethlehem Hospital. They have made bespoke suits for many local people as well as names such as Michel Roux jr., Simon le Bon, Roger Daltrey & Gregory Porter not to mention their favourite poster boy, Mark Hill of the BBC Antiques Roadshow. As not everyone wears a suit, they also screen print tee shirts the old fashioned way, and were proud to make a little contribution to Counter by making the staff t shirts and aprons. You can find out more about them on www.earlofbedlam.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @newsfromBedlam
Picture courtesy off Jill Furmanovsky.

On service charges

There continues to be a lot of press around service charges. At COUNTER we have always had two principles around paying our staff:
1) All staff members deserve fair pay. All our staff members have a basic hourly pay rate above the minimum wage, in most cases significantly so
2) Service charges cover the cost of credit card processing and tips to staff. Nothing else. So over 90% of service charge go to our staff, distributed amongst all team members through a transparent tronc system.

We are aware that some guests dislike paying service charges, and see it as a way for restaurants to make more money. However, given the way HMRC are treating restaurants it is the best way to ensure all employees who were involved in your experience get fairly paid. The two alternatives which we did not follow were:
1) Increase prices and pay a higher base salary. Given the tax difference between higher prices and higher wages and a "discretionary" service charge given to staff we would have to increase prices by over 20% to give staff a pay increase equivalent to the service charge.
2) Rely on voluntary tipping. While we would all love to do that, it makes it very hard to know if waiters collecting the tips are actually sharing them with bussers, reception, bar or kitchen. And by the way, as it is often undeclared income HMRX aren't too happy about it either.
We do not encourage our staff to ask for additional tips and we do not set our credit card machines to ask you whether you want to leave an additional tip.

If you are in a large party, please keep in mind that staff have to work extra hard to get all your food and drinks out together and to look after you. Asking us to remove the service charge means that the staff serving you will face a 25-30% pay cut for the time spend serving you. Please think about it.

So we welcome any moves by the government to ensure that service charges are fairly distributed amongst all staff in all restaurants, like we do. However, we think that any moves to ban service charges will lead to either much higher prices in an already over-taxed sector or lower take-home pay for staff. Neither can the right outcome.

April enCOUNTERS

Try our NEW spring menu

As British summertime is now officially upon us, it’s out with the old and in with the NEW at COUNTER as we proudly introduce our deliciously tasty seasonal spring menu.

Imaginative starters include Gumbo or White Asparagus while main course highlights include Flank Steak and Grilled Cauliflower Steak. There’s even a brand new dessert menu including Chocolate Terrine or Rhubarb panacotta. Voila!

Also, don't forget our Lunch Rapide. Every weekday lunch time we offer you two weekly changing mains and a glass of wine or beer for only £10. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get the weekly offer every Monday.

BackCOUNTER Lounge - Vauxhall's new play ground

Open Wed - Sun from 5pm to late

Happy hour every day 5-8pm

Try our cocktails, beer and wines

Next Sassy Saturdays Cabaret evening on May 14

COUNTERswing
Every Thursday from 7:30pm, free entry

Friday Night Fever
Every week from 8:30pm, free entry

A private affair

BackCOUNTER is available for private hire. We can seat up to 75 people or host up to 125 people reception style. From work do's to that BIG birthday, BackCOUNTER is Vauxhall's best private hire venue.
Enquire about private hire

Better business breakfast

Planning a breakfast meeting? With private booths, free Wi-Fi and acclaimed food and coffee, we are the obvious choice for breakfast meetings in Vauxhall. And now it makes even more sense with our new Business Breakfast offer for 2-4 people. For only £12 per person for a hot breakfast dish of your choice, unlimited coffee and guaranteed booth seating. Just book at least on the day before and we need your table back by 11:30 am. Available Monday to Friday.

Hitting the wicket!

We’re delighted to announce that COUNTER has been selected to take over two food stalls and bars on the Kia Oval’s exclusive Debenture and Pakistan Terraces on T20, International Test Matches and other important games during the 2016-2018 seasons.

This will be in addition to our COUNTER Cricket Club menu at COUNTER on match days.

Meet our supplier of the month: Foodspeed

Are you enjoying our coffee in the morning? Besides the beans, the other really important ingredient is the milk. That is why we are getting all our dairy from Foodspeed. While the name may sound like a big company, they actually hold the Royal Warrant to supply Her Majesty The Queen herself with fresh milk and dairy.
We buy organic milk which is mainly produced on family owned farms within a 10 miles radius around Tewkesbury, where the dairy is, and then shipped to London.
So the next time you drink you latte in the morning, Her Majesty might be having milk from the same delivery to London for her breakfast. How cool is that?

March enCOUNTERs

February was a little bit of a party season for us as we celebrated our first anniversary under the arches in Vauxhall. Many thanks to all of you who joined us.

Mother's Day

Mum's The Word on 6th of March - book now for weekend brunch on Mother's Day and 'Build your own Bellini' alongside live entertainment from West End performer and pianist Duncan Day. Book now mentioning 'enCOUNTERs' and your beloved Mum will also be treated to a free glass of prosecco.

NEW FOR MARCH!
Early Bird Dinner Special - order dinner between 4:30pm & 6:30pm, Monday to Friday, and get two courses from our regular menu for £19 OR three courses for £23. Available throughout March for tables of up to 6 people.

It's Good To Share - feast on our delicious starter platter followed by tomahawk rib eye steak, fries, oxtail croquettes and a bottle of Malbec for only £120. Perfect for 3-4 people sharing.
BackCOUNTER Lounge welcomes back Sassy Saturdays – a seductive cabaret dinner and show – with the legendary Lady Diamond on 12th of March. Catch her last performance before she returns to her summer residency in Sitges!

SASSY SATURDAYS
What’s more, Australian cabaret singer and comedian Dusty Limits will be hitting the high notes on Saturday 26th of March – one of the most celebrated figures of the ‘new cabaret’ scene.

Dinner served from 8pm-9.15pm, followed by cabaret at 9.30pm-12am.

Book Now for March 12

A Private Affair
BackCOUNTER is available for private hire. We are fully equipped with bar, sound system and DJ equipment. We can provide entertainment tailored to your event.
Contact us for more details. privatehire@counterrestaurants.com

Our Supplier Of The Month
We are very happy to have found John and the Kennington Bakery, a small and independent local bakery. He is now supplying us with fantastic sourdough and rye breads as well as delicious Waterloo buns, so nice yet naughty, with your morning coffee. Check out his web page. John bakes every night and will also deliver to your home. And for the history buffs, he has named all his breads after famous English battles.

COUNTER NOW AT THE KIA OVAL

COUNTER Hits The Wicket With New Catering Contract at The Kia Oval

COUNTER Vauxhall Arches, the all day bar and brasserie, has been selected to take over two food stalls and a bar on the Kia Oval’s exclusive Debenture and Pakistan Terraces on T20, International Test Matches and other important games during the 2016-2018 seasons.

The three units, branded with the striking COUNTER Cricket Club logo and decorated with orange cricket wickets and bats in keeping with its unique brand identity, will feature COUNTER inspired lunch and dinner menu options – all made with high quality ingredients as well as a specially created breakfast menu for the International Test Matches as well as beer, wine and long drinks designed exclusively for the Kia Oval.

COUNTER will also offer a special COUNTER Cricket Club menu at COUNTER Vauxhall Arches on match days, offering all cricket fans a perfectly located meeting place before and after matches.

COUNTER was selected as Kia Oval wanted a high-end restaurant brand on these two exclusive terraces with a strong track record including menu, quality, health safety & hygiene and a robust framework structure.

Philip Reicherstorfer, owner of COUNTER Vauxhall Arches says: “We are delighted to be partnering with our neighbours at the Kia Oval as a logical next step in developing our business. Since opening our restaurant and bar last year, we’ve been feeding and watering visitors to Kia Oval onsite – now it’s time to take our much loved food and drink offering to the ground itself!”

Elliott Moore, general manager for Levy Restaurants UK at Kia Oval, said:
“Cricket’s a hugely social occasion, so we’re confident our debenture holders will enjoy the innovative offerings COUNTER has to offer. It’s great to partner with a local business in the Vauxhall area, adding to the already excellent visitor experience Kia Oval has to offer.”