The Fire Station in Waterloo has some serious foodie pedigree going on. It was originally opened by Trevor Gulliver who then went on to co-found the St John Restaurant with Fergus Henderson 1n 1994 and St John Bread and Wine in 2003. It shut in 2014 for a complete refurbishment and only this week did it open its doors again for trading. Regulars know the Fire Station is a restaurant and bar that serves wood-fired pizzas and burgers – and it’s good to see they haven’t wandered too far from the path.
So lets have a look at the refit – I like the nod to the vintage heritage with fire extinguisher, fire hose ceiling lights, and a wall panel of the 1666 Great Fire of London. There’s now a long bar with a spacious drinking area and a smattering of individual and communal tables to set up camp.
Tonight we are here to drink and dine – and a few dishes catch my eye. Pizza-wise the Parma ham, chorizo iberico, beef ragu, salami, pepperoni gets my seal of approval while the marinated buffalo mozzarella & basil is the safe choice. Smoke mackerel, king prawns, mascarpone, soft boiled egg works for me as long as I can forgo the egg. If I had to choose a burger, the Black and Gold burger with black pudding and double cheese is of interest but would have to go a fair way of knocking the world-beating Bleecker Burger ‘Bleecker Black’.
So I had to make a decision and settled on the Glazed Short Rib Burger. A 6 oz dry aged beef patty, balsamic-glazed short rib, American mustard mayo, sliced beef tomato and little gem lettuce. It hit all the right sports and the mix of meat worked prefectly on the palette and I loved the spicy slaw that it was served with.
Needing to whet the whistle I’m glad to find a menu that offers craft beer (Beavertown, Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada to name a few) and a decent selection of wines by the glass. Cocktails are inventively ‘smoked in The Fire Station’ – so I dive head first into their take on the Old Fashioned with housemate cinnamon syrup and smoked with oak chips and look towards the Vanilla and Fig Sour made with fig-infused Maker’s Mark bourbon.
Brunch is in the offerings as well so it is going to be an all day sort of crowd and overhearing that the barista comes from Caravan in Kings Cross gives me hope that you might be able to find a decent coffee in this part of town.
I gotta say a massive hats-off to our waiter Simon who was an absolute gun all night. Give that American a raise, a promotion and look him down. I know a bunch of restaurateurs who would love to patch him for their team.
The Fire Station retains its informal, all-day style with updates to make the place a little more interesting than it was previously. And it’s perfect if visiting The Old Vic.
Trading hours: Monday to Wednesday from 7am until 11pm, Thursday to Saturday until midnight, Sunday until 10.30pm. Brunch: Monday to Friday 7am to noon, Saturday & Sunday 9am to 2pm.