There's A Champagne, Oyster And Boules Bar Underneath Hungerford Bridge

Applebee's Fish Southbank Centre pop-up ★★★★★

There's A Champagne, Oyster And Boules Bar Underneath Hungerford Bridge Applebee's Fish Southbank Centre pop-up 5
Applebee's South Bank pop-up: where negronis really do grow on trees

Applebee's is quite the looker.

This isn't the Applebee's of Borough Market, but their South Bank summer pop-up — stashed underneath Hungerford Bridge, it's a small, pretty seaside-shack-meets-champagne-pergola.

There was nothing to see, back in June, when we were passing by its soon-to-be-site underneath Hungerford Bridge. And then a couple of days later, taking the same route, there it was: sprung fully-formed, like Venus from the ocean. Or from the Thames, in this case, a wooden-beamed, fairy light-hung Venus. It comes with glorious bonus features including: an oyster bar centred around a small tree, serving frizzante and negronis on tap; a petanque pitch, with boules available to borrow for free from behind the bar, and a short but compelling menu at the seafood hatch, with some of the best-battered fish and chips we've had in London in ages.

Other big hitters include the panko prawns: perfectly-crusted, easily shareable, eminently portable — they've got boules-fuel written all over them; the Mersea oysters, all salinity and bite, and the raw salmon crostini with a fierce hit of horseradish.

Prices are reasonable for the area — £11.50 for some heftily generous fish and chips; £8.50 a negroni.

The combined total's a drinking spot that feels both deeply London — Thames views? Check. Some light Brutalism? Check. Long mural by Stik brightening the underneath of the bridge; trains rattling at a soothing rumble overhead? Double check — and totally escapist: negroni tree; bivalve bar; petanque pitch.

Plus some welcome assurances from the staff that petanque's one of those games you get better at after a few drinks. Applebee's, you're saying all the right things.

Applebee's Fish pop-up is at South Bank till middle of September. Applebee's Fish South Bank, underneath Hungerford Bridge, Queens Walk, SE1 8XX.

Last Updated 15 July 2019