After a recent renovation the Fire Station in Waterloo has re-opened its doors; offering breakfast, lunch and dinner one of the busiest commuter areas in the City. Serving up a new menu that features wood-fired pizzas and a host of delicious burger options, complimented by some fabulous cocktails.
In a word
Great quality comfort food
The new menu is quite simplistic but I think that’s a good thing as it means there are a few things done well. That being said – the variety of burgers is pretty impressive with some serious classics and a few unexpected twists. So what should you order?
Don’t hate me for this but my favourite burger of them all was … the veggie burger (I’m so sorry); but the quality of the beef burgers is great too as they use dry-aged Angus beef.
Mushroom & Sticky Red Onion (£8)
Crispy Portobello mushroom, sticky red onion, blue cheese sauce, tarragon mayo and little gem lettuce
I think the main reason I loved this so much is the textures – the mushroom was cooked to perfection, firm enough that it didn’t squelch out but soft enough that the flavour really shines through; it’s then been coated in a seriously crispy, crunchy layer and with the softness of the blue cheese; all together it’s quite heavenly and that’s without even considering the incredible taste! Please consider this when you order, it’s lush!
Maple Glazed Bacon (£8.85)
6 oz dry aged beef patty, maple-glazed thick cut bacon, cheese, American mustard mayo, sliced beef tomato and little gem lettuce
When I think classic burger this is what springs to mind; thick and juicy patty with juicy tomato, salty bacon and all the condiments. But there’s a great addition here in the fact that the bacon is maple-glazed, bringing an extra sweetness to the burger, accentuating the sweet bun. If you like the American style classics, then this is the one for you!
Black & Gold (£9.95)
6 oz dry aged beef patty, black pudding, double cheese, American mustard mayo, sliced beef tomato
I’ve never eaten black pudding before but I braved it just for the experience and because the other two burgers (don’t worry we shared them I didn’t eat the whole things) had got my taste buds going and I wanted more. To be fair, you couldn’t really taste the black pudding all that much, it just seemed to give an extra meaty, slightly sweet taste to the burger. There was lots of dressing in this one too, nice and creamy from the double cheese. I’d recommend this for those who like meat with a side of meat.
Other burgers on the menu that we didn’t try include a buttermilk chicken burger, a classic cheeseburger and a glazed short rib – all coming in between £8 and £10.95.
The burgers were really hearty, fairly well cooked (I like mine a tad rarer but they were cooking for hundreds of us so that is mainly forgiven anyway) and full of great – simple but tasty – ingredients.
We only tried one type, the spicy salami one, which came with salami pepperoni, peppadew peppers, green chillies and jalapeños. It had a thin wood – fired base, but was loaded with cheese, which had gone beautifully crisp and perfect at the edges. There was a scattering of thin cut pepperoni and jalapeños. Hot (as predicted) but if you can tolerate nachos with all the toppings or a medium curry then you’ll be right at home with this one.
The portion size was pretty reasonable and for just shy of a tenner, I was much more satisfied than when I get pizzas from many of the chain pizza companies and felt full but not gross.
Pizzas come in other flavours such as: margarita; spicy chicken with goat’s cheese, goat’s cheese with peppers, spinach and olive; a meaty offering with parma ham, beef ragu, chorizo and pepperoni or a fishy one with mackerel and king prawns on a garlic butter base. There’s also some garlic pizza breads available.
Definitely recommend paying £1 more and getting the sweet potato fries more as they have a great texture (nothing sadder than a soggy sweet potato fry). The fries are shoelace so not much to them but good if you don’t want to get full as quickly. There’s also parmesan fries or a mix of fries available … so you should have all your bases covered.
Pear Fizz (£8.75)
Absolut pear vodka, pear purée, lemon juice, sugar syrup and prosecco
The pear purée sits at the bottom of the glass under the prosecco, so make sure you stir it up or you get a hit of sweet and the bubbles taste mighty bitter afterwards! This is a great aperitif to have before dinner, but won’t really go so well when you chow down on your burger.
Blackberry & cucumber smash (£8.50)
Hendricks gin, elderflower liqueur,blackberries, cucumber, apple juice, lemon juice and sugar syrup
Slightly sour but mainly sweet. This is your typical fruity and refreshing, summer, gin – based cocktail. Good for those who like a Bramble.
Smoked cherry Manhattan (£8.75)
Bulleit bourbon, Jim beam black cherry, Herring cherry brandy, Lilley blanc, Lillet rouge, cherry syrup oak – smoked
This is one of the smoke-themed drinks on the list (get it … you’re in a fire station) and was actually my favourite among the cocktails I think. Classic, strong, cocktail. If, like me, you’re a bourbon fan then this should definitely be on your list!
Other cocktails include twists on classics – like a julep which is focussed on blackberries and a magarita which uses pineapple and black pepper; smoked liqueur cocktails and old-fashioned themed cocktails – where the spirits take the spotlight (here, here).
Each table has a karafe of lemon and cucumber water, refreshing in terms of hydration and a good palette cleanser to boot!
There’s half a dozen reds and whites available and a couple of roses, so a few to pick from. We tried the Antica sauvignon blanc from Chile (£3/£4.45/£6.05/£18) which had nothing explicitly stand out about it but was a pleasant enough glass to go with our meal (the cocktails stole my heart to be fair).
The bar and restaurant are very inviting, it’s the kind of place that you’d happily rock up to after work to hang out with your friend over some non-fussy but tasty food. The decor is related to the building’s previous purpose (fire station obvs) and the tables and chairs come in a range of styles to suit your purpose – grab a large table with bar stools for a big group having work drinks, a quiet table for two in the corner for a date night or a big square table near the kitchen when you and your besties want to be close to the action.
I think this place is brilliant for a casual gathering and pretty well priced for the quality. It isn’t the most gourmet burgers and pizzas in London, but it isn’t trying to be, it’s no-fuss, welcoming and satisfying and that’s all that matters. If my commute ran through the Waterloo area, you’d probably have a hard time getting me out of there – another Smoked Cherry Manhattan please!!
150 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8SB. England
Telephone – 020 3727 5938