Where To Eat?


Today I lunched with Norman in Waterloo’s Lower Marsh. To facilitate this, Jackie drove me to New Milton station in the morning, and home from Brockenhurst this afternoon.

These trains are usually crowded, but this morning’s took the biscuit. Had you actually wanted to purchase a biscuit, or anything else for that matter, this would not have been possible, although there was an at-seat trolley on board. This rapidly became ‘a static buffet’. As we piled on board at New Milton, the young woman in charge of refreshments retreated into what cannot be described as anything other than a cubby hole. It was designed for just this purpose.

Trolley cubby hole in crowded train

Although the announcements invited us to visit her it would have been very difficult to have fought one’s way through the assembled standing humanity. Even had this been achieved the attendant could not have pushed her charge back through the door in order to serve anyone.

Trolley cubby hole in crowded train

The first photograph was taken fifteen minutes or so into the journey. This second about half an hour later. The bottom of the trolley is all that is visible. The young lady in charge was trapped in there all the way to Waterloo.

From the viewpoint of these images it will be apparent that I was seated. How was this possible?  For ten minutes it wasn’t. I was standing with those in the pictures outside the tiny toilet cubicle. This small section of the train contained two seats, one labelled disabled. The special seat had a small table in front of it. Standing between seat and table was a little girl using the table to work her puzzle book. I asked the mother whether we could come to some arrangement whereby I could sit down. She happily gave up her own seat. Only when I suggested it did she move across to her daughter’s unused perch. By the end of the journey this mother was feeling very sick on account of the now airless nature of our conveyance.

I had agreed with Norman to check out the eating establishments in Lower Marsh so that we could try somewhere new to eat. I then met him at Cafe Nero in The Cut, and led him back to

La Barca restaurant

our favoured choice.

Graffiti on tunnel

I had entered Lower Marsh from the Taxi Approach road beside a graffiti adorned tunnel  leading back under the station approach. The London Eye is visible in the background.

Cafe menu board

Other dining possibilities included cafe’s such as this one with an inviting menu board;

Olympics cafe

or the Olympic with a bar;

Thai restaurant window

a Thai restaurant in the window of which I took a couple of selfies with one shot;

Cuban restaurant

and a Cuban,

Cuban restaurant window
Cuban restaurant window

the windows of which offered intriguing reflective collages, tented food stalls across the road, and the juxtaposition of an exotic dancer with the Virgin Mary.

Duck in Orange Sauce

 La Barca was rather upmarket for Lower Marsh. The ambience was plush, the service attentive, and the food excellent. Norman and I both chose superb broccoli soup and succulent duck in orange sauce, with roast potatoes and crisp vegetables. We shared a bottle of the house montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

Needless to say, I required no further sustenance this evening.


  1. That is such a horrid reminder of life before I was fortunate to ‘retire’ to France …. commuting daily was onerous in the extreme. My husband commutes into Cambridge from Acton (all very confusing for an English girl) and although the trains are not perfect and indeed the timetables seem to be wrought in another time zone to the one we generally inhabit, he almost always gets a seat irrespective of the time he travels and it just seems a teeny bit more customer-civilised than my memories of what was once British Rail and seems not to have improved for the privatising.

    1. Many thanks, Osyth. From my limited experience our trains are the worst in Europe; France being so much better. If you transfer that cubby hole for the trolley woman to the passenger areas, you’ll have some idea of the paucity of seat space for a tall man

    1. Thanks, Pauline. You are right about Lower Marsh. I have known it since 1963. It has changed a lot. It holds far more gems. One day I may feature all the street food stalls. The train ride was possibly the worst ever, especially as I was reading a book on the New Zealand War (WW1) graves in Brockenhurst, and how almost half of the dead who never made it out of the hospitals succumbed to illness rather than wounds. I’ll post something about that when I’ve finished it.

  2. Good chuckles from the exotic dancer and the Virgin Mary….second only to the time I saw a display where the Virgin Mary was in company with Miss Piggy of the Muppets….

  3. Was this Southern Trains who are having strikes or SE or SW networks? I have been on one or two like this – then other times have had a coach to myself. Incredible photos – certainly beat Jeremy Corbin’s.

    1. Many thanks, Sol. It was SW. 5 coaches until S’ampton Central when you get five more. It was full at New MIlton and kept filling up. Half term seems to have contributed.

  4. I really got a feel for the area and the restaurant from these photos, Derrick. And yum! That photo with the Havana and Virgin Mary really caught my attention!

  5. Fascinating sequence – googled Waterloo’s Lower Marsh. It suggests a very different locale to someone unfamiliar with London/England. 😀

  6. What a train ride! I’m glad you found a seat. When I rode on the train frequently, once a conductor upgraded me to the empty 1st class cabin, outside of which stood a tired mass of humanity, with a wink. Such good fortune! The food looks good. Nice selfie 😉

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