Marie's Cafe - Lambeth, London

Thai Restaurant, Asian, English Restaurant, Ethnic Foods, Western Food



90 Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London, SE1 7AB

+44 20 7928 1050




Based on 197 reviews.


Agregated reviews (197) Marie's Cafe - Lambeth, London

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I don’t normally like to complain about small businesses, but tonight I was shocked by the treatment my friends and I received at Marie’s Cafe.

Marie’s Cafe is a Thai restaurant near Waterloo. It’s cheap and you can bring your own booze. It’s very popular with young people for this reason. I’ve long been a fan and have often recommended it to friends, as well as bringing various social groups here.

I fear it has become arrogant, though. It is so used to its high demand that it has abandoned all courtesy, which I discovered tonight.

Tonight I visited with two girl pals. When we arrived, it was packed. Lots of people were waiting for seats. Even though I had booked a table, we still had to wait a while to get ours.

We sat down, and immediately the service wanted to know our order. This seemed like a good sign at the beginning, but I honestly felt harassed by the end of the evening, as if Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction had become my waiter – but with less charm. We had a waiter and a waitress who constantly hounded us to order the next item of food; they are so desperate to flog meals that they treat customers a bit like cattle that have to be rushed through.

We ordered starters and mains. They brought these out quickly, and together. They then cleared my starter plate away when I had not finished it.

The service was mad. We were constantly harassed to finish our food. At every opportunity, the waitress would ask if we had finished. My friend finished the last spoonful of her main and she took her plate away. I told the waitress could she please let us be for a bit, but things continued. We must have been there about half an hour when they started trying to get rid of us.

We ordered a cup of tea in order to justify staying longer, but halfway through the waitress handed us the bill – which we did not ask for. I turned it upside down and we ignored it. Eventually the head chef came over and told us we had to pay as our table was needed.

We had not even finished our drinks. I got annoyed by this and complained to another waiter, who had been equally bothersome for the half hour/ hour we’d been there. I asked him if they could all just leave us in peace.

Instead, the head chef came over again. He told us we really had to go now, all the while we had not finished. I told him how rude he was, and he said he didn’t care – it was the way they were. I said I would write about this experience and he said he didn’t care, we still had to go. I told him I thought he was a bully. At one point he gave me a piece of paper and pen and told me to write down exactly how he should run his business.

Like I say, I am shocked. I might have been less shocked if they had given us a warning they expect such a quick – McDonalds-standard – table turnover, but they didn’t. They acted as if we were a group of thugs that needed escorting off the premises. Our crime? Wanting a leisurely curry! Should a restaurant that feel stressed enough that it must intimidate customers into leaving might I suggest it buys more tables? Or shuts down!

I’m all the more unhappy about our treatment because I’ve always promoted that restaurant. I once even wrote an article about how much I love it! Its owners clearly think they are too good for manners. All of this is self-defeating; we would have spent more money had they let us sit in their premise for more than an hour. Marie’s Cafe is run by a bully. One that has no business sense, either.

Oh, and the food wasn’t even that good.

1 by Review source

Been here a few times before and it was poor customer service, but very good price and food. Told were couldn't book and that you wouldn't be seated unless a full party, which we thought was fair.

Tonight we arrived and asked for a table for 3, no problem. As usual, given a menu and waited a bit by the door (10 minutes). A table cleared and we went to sit down when a woman behind the counter started literally shouting that we couldn't sit because they needed to clear it. I stated my aunt was elderly and needed to sit, we didn't mind them doing it while we were there (certainly they've done it before!) but then the woman changed her story and claimed there was a booking. Another staff member further claimed that they were fully booked all night. I asked why were were given menus and allowed to wait for ten minutes if that were the case when the other staff member accused us of just walking in. We tried walking out and suddenly, what do you know, a table is free. Utterly ridiculous. Also a half-full table waiting for their friends was there - not exactly fair...

Disgusting customer service, horrible bending of rules when convenient and the food is good but I would rather pay an extra £5 for my food where I'm treated with respect than return here again. Will never return, and will be sure that people I know are aware of their frankly unprofessional behaviour.

1 by Sylvia Sit Review source

Remember the first time I went to Marie's and thought - this place needs a refurb. But it was jammed to the door and I said to myself - well it must be good if I can't get a seat.

The Thai food is always delicious and breakfast is good too! Red duck curry is a favourite of mine! So good!

Disappointed to hear poor reviews due rudeness of the staff - as they have always been very nice & friendly to me.

The cafe is staffed by Thai people with broken English and they can sometimes be quiet short in their sentences! (You walk in and they say 'sit down' rather than 'can you please take a seat'!) - perhaps this is interpreted as rude. But its not intentional and if anything kinda adds to the uniqueness of the place. I always have a great laugh with the staff - it's part of the reason I go! and the atmosphere is always lively!!! They talk to each other in Thai and talk to customers in broken English! It's actually really funny sometimes!

So great food, great but unusual atmosphere, bring your own beer, and great value for money. 5 out of 5 for me.

5 by Review source

If you want a place in zone 1 in London where you can eat well, Thai and at a price that you will hardly find anywhere else, this is the place.
I love it, because it is a place that smells of rustic and home is not easy to find such a place in a city like London.
Especially recommended if you're planning an evening of theater. Old Vic and Young Vic Theatre are just a step away from here. perfect evening.
It's a BYOB. It means that after the theater, you can stop at Tesco or Sainsbury at the right front of the theater, buy a bottle of wine and take it with you into the restaurant. With 20 pounds eat us a good appetizer or soup with shrimp and a main each. And maybe leave a little 'tip. Do not drive if all'attitude people you need. It's part of the charm.

5 by Roberto Sommella Review source

If you ever go to Waterloo try to come here and I promise you won't regret it. This place have been in lower marsh for more than 30 years and the customers varies from all the work force on the area. Food is a mix of Thai, south east Asian cuisine and our favourite English breakfast. Price does change in the evening but you can Bring your own bottle of wine for a pound. The place opens really early so you can get your breakfasts there or get a full lunch or brunch or whatever you fancy. Prices range from £4-£7 and the portions are just right for the price. The Thai cuisine taste nice especially the yellow curry. English breakfast is good as well and you got so much option to choose. BTW try to come on a Tuesday because they serve a special beef soup that they only do on Tuesday.

5 by nelson chua Review source

Cheap and cheerful. It's got everything a proper greasy spoon has -fried eggs, black pudding, beans on toast, mushrooms, soss, mismatched mugs with faded logos- but also some really, really decent Thai food that's cheaper than you'll get most places. They have a a good range on the menu, not just green curry and prawn toast, and it's all really good. Marie's barbecue chicken is especially good, with a good peppery burn to it.

Their desserts are nice, too. The only thing is, bring cash-- they don't take cards (or at least, didn't when I went last).

5 by Jennifer Meyer Review source

From 5.30 to 10.30 in the evening they serve Thai food and charge £1 per person corkage. Cash only and you pay at the counter as you leave.
The food tastes good, is very cheap and pretty much everything on the menu has a vegetarian option.
The service is kind-of ad hoc but they all have a good attitude.
I think cleanliness would be an issue for some. There were quite a few (small) flies around, and the pretty grim customer toilet leads straight off the kitchen.

4 by d c Review source

Worst Thai food in London, cramped seating, loud noisy and stuffy. This really should not be branded Thai, menu appears to be Thai but the actual food is made of cheap substitute ingredients and lackluster cooking. Even the 'Thai' drinks are mediocre at best. If you want to bring your own drinks and don't have any care for what you are eating this place is for you, but if you have an existent palette or want an actual meal avoid at all costs

1 by Park Hin Yeung Review source

This place offers excellent no frills Thai food. Its also BYOB so you can pair great food with great wine -- and it won't break the bank. Personally I'm a huge fan of places where there food's the focus and there's not an ounce of pretention. When you don't have a license (so no fancy wines) and you're serving up in a greasy spoon, there's nowhere to hide: the food HAS to be good. Totally recommned this quirky little gem

4 by Claire Jones Review source

Visited with 2 friends on a Friday evening and experienced very rude and very slow. The waitress seemed to be very annoyed as she found out we only ordered 2 mains and 2 desserts. She talked to her daughter in Thai in front of us and it's really rude. Waiting time was extremely long, no food served for nearly 30mins. I used to like this place for the food quality and the price but now I'll feel reluctant to visit again.

2 by Xiaofei Liao Review source

Expect a substantial queue if you come on any given night to this tiny terraced thai cafe. Cash only and £1 corkage for BYOB, this is a popular haunt for the regulars given that the food is extremely cheap and surprisingly good. You're packed in like sardines and the service is not exactly quick, but given that you'll get out for \\u003c£10 a head and it's in Central London, we all let that slide.

4 by Matt Taylor Review source

Greasy spoon by day and Thai Cafe by night. I've only ever had Thai there, it's a great place to go if you're hungry in Waterloo and don't want to spend a lot of money. The food is tasty and good value, and the service friendly. The ambience is, well, caff-turned Thai place! It seems to be a popular spot with actors from the Old Vic across the road so you could even spot a star.

3 by Sarah Moore Review source

Fantastic Thai 'greasy spoon' cafe in the heart of Waterloo. If you like traditional English Breakfast or Thai food you must give it a try. It is always very busy, specially with people working in the area at lunch time. They don't serve alcohol but you can bring your own one. It is quite small and compact so not the best place for big groups I think.

4 by J Suarez Review source

Great little place, conveniently around the corner from Waterloo station, so will likely return there given the location. Thai food only after 5.30pm, but usual greasy spoon fare beforehand. Arrived around 6.15pm and it just got busier, so clearly there's one or two folks out there that know about this place. Like others have said, make sure you bring cash!

4 by Jarod Nash Review source

One of the reviews describes this as 'Lovely Chinese food', OMG, it's Thai!!! Like confusing Italian with French, idiot!!! Anyway, great, basic Thai food, great price, great atmosphere, can be a bit loud when the boring trendy millennial types come in a get drunk and shout meaningless slogans at each other. I love it!!

5 by Dan Mitchell Review source

Great value food here, we waited for about half an hour or more but gave us time to buy some drink - byob is £1 pp. Food was good i had a green curry, quite mild as i asked for, but my friend had asked for spicy and it wasn't really. Great friendly spot, seemed to be a few regulars in which is always a good sign :)

4 by Hollie Willetts Review source

A real shame..
I loved this placed having eaten regularly there for last 8 years.. but recently the prices have risen twice, and the portions have got smaller..
Lastly Marie's has never been an ultra modern cafe, but has always been clean, unfortunately this is an area that seems to be neglected recently.

1 by Mark Mark Review source

What happened to customers being treated nicely.We were treated very rudely then the waiter said 'go home'under his breath thinking we did not hear.We loved going here but not if they treat loyal customers this way.This is a city full of places to eat.Do not go here if you want a pleasant eating experience

1 by Review source

Was nice, needs more spice but food was quick an good price. NOTE : no card machine! Cash only! Had to walk to Waterloo then back to pay. Not far but still a pain considering it's 2017 an middle of London so who is carrying cash. 3 people whilst I was there fell foul of this issue... BYOB is good though.

4 by Tim Robins Review source

I would put zero stars if I could... flavour wasn’t great, everything was sweet even the food marked as spicy, portions are tiny and expensive, only cash payment is accepted and the place looks dirty. The only good think were the veggies, there were fresh and crunchy, is a shame there weren’t many o f them.

1 by Alondra Michel Review source

Really great food at very reasonable prices. The portions aren't huge but the prices are so low that it doesn't matter. As it's BYOB you can manage a two course feast for 2 people for around £35 including a couple of beers each. I really enjoyed the mixed starter and the dick in oyster sauce.

5 by Robbie Dyer Review source

Wanted to have some breakfast at 2pm. Had a look at recommended places and thought of giving it a visit. The place is small but a lovely place to be, active and what was needed. The staff are friendly especially the lady at the counter, absolutely adorable. Great food and price. Well worth the visit.

5 by Yue Lee Review source

my favourite spot in London. always very busy, so lots of clambering over and around people, and you cant reserve a seat, which all adds to the excitement and charm of the place. Food is delicious, but the charm lies in the staff, the unpretentious atmosphere, and the fact that you can byob!

5 by Lotte Rice Review source

A hidden gem. I honestly think this is some of the best value food in London. Anyone expecting to be silver service should expect to pay a little more, this place is about genuinely good nosh. It's cash only, arrive expecting to wait for a table but make sure you try the Masumam curry.

5 by Shaun Terry Review source

Great small local place. Delicious food & very reasonable prices. Also BYOB which is great! Quite often packed but have always managed to get a table quite fast. Also does takeaway! Note: cash only, but there are ATMs down the road & at Waterloo station.

5 by Review source

This is a go-to dinner spot for quality Thai food. It's not the best greasy spoon on Lower Marsh (try Barbarella's at the other end of the road) but you can't beat it for an evening meal.

Remember it's BYOB and cash-only.

4 by Mark Johnson Review source

Shush... Don't tell anyone else about one of the best thai eateries in London. Basic and byob. It also gets loud when it's busy. The food is delicious. It's as good as your favourite street cafe in Bangkok. Very reasonable prices too.

5 by Bill Walshe Review source

Unusual in that you can have a either a Thai curry or many variations of a Full English for breakfast. At night it is only Thai food. It is without frills reasonably priced and I have found the service kind if not a little abrupt. I recommend it.

4 by Christian Loftus Review source

Haven't tried the Thai food, just breakfast: it's an okay greasy spoon, a bit cramped. Nothing to write home about. It is pretty cheap - two decent-sized breakfasts for the same price you'd pay for a single in some fancier joints.

3 by Aviv Or Review source

Really recommend it. Placed was packed! spelling mistakes at the menu, old decoration, and cash only were the 'downsides' which didn't affect anything in my rating as the food is worth it! A great experience for not much money.

4 by Review source

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