“ 150 Waterloo Road, South Bank, SE1 8SB. Tel: +44 (0)20 7620 2226. (Waterloo tube / rail). This used to be a fire station...hence the name!! „
As you might well have guessed this restaurant/pub is based in an old fire station in waterloo, my experience is from over four months ago so things may well have changed for the better, but overall I didn't find this was one of my better London Culinary experiences.
Located on Waterloo Road, this place is in a perfect location for anyone working near or travelling through Waterloo. It is within 50 metres of the rail and tube stations and is easy to find.
Obviously being an old Fire Station this venue can feel cold as it has huge high ceilings being an Edwardian Fire Station. The place is decked out with large oak tables and lots of tiling, it looks fine in a gastropub kind of way, but it is cold and the atmosphere is matched by the service (See later!).
I found the place interesting in the fact it wants to show it has locally sourced products and a real flair for food combinations. For starters there were things such as Duck and Beetroot Pate with marmalade and a Charcuterie board of dried meats, these were tasty if not a tad small for the £7 we were charged. For mains, options varied from Venison, Monkfish, burger or fish and chips, this was a weird variation.
I had the fish and chips which was nothing special for £11 and felt too small. Others had nice looking roasts but I felt the £15 prices for mains was way too much for what was essentially gastropub meals. The menu was fine but felt filled out with big words for what was essentially, fish and chips, burger, roast and fish of the day. For me this summed up the place which obviously has big ideas but is too expensive and not good enough to follow them through.
There was a good selection of beers and wines and this was where the place excelled, I had a nice ice cold pint of Hooegaarden, but the wine menu was good and there were good recommendations on the menu.
Service was ok, although it was slow and staff didn't seem overly knowledgable about the products, it was fine but it didn't fit with the prices. It felt like pub service at restaurant prices.
To get to the restaurant you have to walk through the bar, which for some reason is a strange experience as people stare at you. The place is ok, it looks fine, has a good range of ales and beers, but it has its prices wrong for the quality of food on offer, I was utterly underwhelmed and felt a good evening was ruined by average food at inflated prices.
I have had much better Fish and Chips and seen better roasts at real experts such as the Roast restaurant for similar prices, so wouldn't go here again, but the location is great for anyone with time to kill in the Waterloo area.
If you like a noisy, crowded bar where it takes ages to get served, then a visit to the Fire Station is a must for you. Personally I prefer a pub that looks like a pub, rather than an old fire station. I find the decor cold and unappealing, and the beer expensive. Having visited the place twice (the first time I was not impressed, but decided to give it another chance) I will not be bothering again. I think the place is a gimmick, and the prices reflect this.
The Fire Station was one of the pioneers of the gastro-pub boom in London and really took off under the leadership of Dan Evans, who's now cooking at the fabulous Angelsea Arms in Wingate Road, W6. Sadly now the quality of the food has gone downhill while the prices seem to have gone up. The bar itself is high-ceilinged which helps keep it airy on hot nights, but makes for deafening conversation - don't bother trying to hold a conversation in the restaurant unless you're intimate enough with the other person to talk directly into their ear. (actually, this may not be as bad a first date place as i first thought...). Beer is good and reasonable enough considering the location, and that location makes it a good place for meeting people after work, or off the train. If you're after a post-work drink and (shouted) chat, fine; if you want quality modern British cooking at bar prices, try the Anglesea or the Engineer.
This place is located on Waterloo Road, next to Waterloo Station and is named after the fact that it used to be a fire station! On entering the place, this comes as no surprise, the high ceilings and open plan nature gives the place quite a cold feeling. It is often very busy, especially on friday evening, mainly with local business people. A good selection of beers, all pricey, are available. However, the Fire Station's saving grace is its restaurant, which is very good. Be sure to book in advance as it is very popular. Again, the food is not cheap (mains average about £10), but it is a good place to go if there is a large group of you.