The Fire Station Christmas Menu Tasting Event, Waterloo
The Fire Station Restaurant and Bar located immediately opposite Waterloo Station introduced its brand new Christmas Menu this week. I joined several other keen foodies on Tuesday 1st December to get our hands on their festive food before anyone else and tell them what we thought!
The Fire Station Restaurant and Bar is back in full force after going under renovation and refurbishment in 2014. It reopened its doors earlier this year with a new look, new food and drinks menu and quickly became a buzzing hangout for after-work drinks and dinner amongst locals and people working in the area. The restaurant is indeed an old Fire Station as its name states and you can see elements of this throughout the establishment's unique design and architecture.
The restaurant is separated into two areas. You enter through a large spacious bar, full of space for tables to sit or to stand with your drink. There's also a very clever 'to-go' coffee counter on the left-hand side of the bar that serves delicious, ethically sourced Caravan Coffee.
The Christmas Menu was served in the dining area of the restaurant which is at the back. Advancing through the bar into the dining room, you quickly notice relics of the old Fire Station, seamlessly integrated into the restaurant's look. Notice the fire-hoses that form lamps hanging from the ceiling? I loved these artistic touches.
The menu at The Fire Station is thoughtfully created; it offers a range of really fresh meat, but its the variety of meaty styles and combinations that I liked and that distinguishes this restaurant from the rest. On the Burger menu for example, you can have a Glazed Short-Rib Burger or a Black & Gold 6oz, which is dry-aged beef with black pudding and Crispy Portobello Mushroom, Sticky-Red Onion and Tarragon Mayo. The Burgers are creative in their invention, traditional in presentation and also incorporate an 'American Diner' feel by serving them paper-wrapped with a logo sticker on top. We were invited to review the Christmas Menu, so on with the festivities!
- The Fire Station Christmas Menu -
Sat around with 10 other foodies at our lovely leather booth right next to the kitchen, we kicked off the evening with some of The Fire Station's Oak-Smoked Cocktails.
The Smoked Cocktails are smoked in house by oak-smoking firestarters, giving them their smokey edge. From left to right:
- Pineapple & Black Pepper Margarita - Silver Patrón Tequila , Grand Marnier, pineapple, agave syrup, lime juice, cracked black pepper (£8.50)
- Smoked Cherry Manhattan Bulleit Bour bon, Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon, Herring Cherry Brandy, Lillet Blanc, Lillet Rouge, cherry syrup oak-smoked (£8.75)
From left to right:
- Pink Duchess - Rosemary-infused Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Yellow Chartreuse, basil, strawberries, lemon, balsamic vinegar, sugar syrup (£8.50)
- The Oak chips and smoking gun used for smoking the Cocktails. Smoking food or drinks gives them extra flavour and finish. You can purchase these chips online in many flavours such as applewood, cherry and hickory!
Starters: Caramel and Chilli Chicken Wings
These are Caramel and Chilli Chicken Wings and oh my goodness these were delicious. I'm often put off by chicken wings because of their powdery, spicy coating that I then have to drown in blue cheese sauce just to stop my mouth from catching fire. These however were really fresh and SO delicious. With a squeeze of lime for extra tang, the combination of all three components worked very well. I even ate the left over sauce that was left on the paper.... £10 wings are £10, £15 for 15 and £20 for £20.
Main Course: The Pizza
The Fire Station uses sourdough for their Pizzas and a technique of hand-stretching them to create a very thin base . The Pizzas are then cooked in British wood-fire ovens. I found that the thinness of the dough makes them really crunchy and not too heavy or filling. I preferred the thinness to regular take-away Pizza size. It also meant there was more room for me to try more food! The Pizzas range very reasonably from £7.95 to £12.50.
This (below) is the biggest and most diverse Pizza on the menu and the ingredients were all so fresh. I'm a massive fish and seafood person, but I've never ordered Mackerel before and usually recoil at its stinky smell! I was glad I tried it this time: it wasn't smelly and fishy as shop-bought Mackerel can often be. It was really meaty and nicely complemented by the soft boiled egg.
Smoked mackerel, king prawns, confit garlic, butter base, marinated mozzarella, mascarpone, rocket, soft boiled egg (£12.50)
The next pizza that we tasted was the exclusive Christmas Pizza. This had roasted parsnips strips, sage stuffing and cranberry. Look at this beauty! The Fire Station also use their own secret recipe tomato sauce:
I preferred this one slightly more to the Mackerel Pizza, just because the combination of Cranberry Jelly and Stuffing was more to my taste. Here is Beth from Yelp cutting up our Christmas Pizza.
Main Course: The Burgers
Here's a shot I snapped of all of our Christmas Burgers freshly made and ready to be scoffed!
This Christmas Burger comprised of Spiced Buttermilk Turkey, Maple Bacon, Pork and Sage and the amazing Cranberry Mayonnaise. The Turkey and Pork was really succulent and this was a great main course choice.
The burgers were served with normal House Fries (£2.50) , Sweet Potato Fries (£3.50) and Spicy Coleslaw £2.00. So good! Little did I know, there was another burger on the way:
This is the Glazed Short Rib Burger - 6 oz dry aged beef patty, balsamic-glazed short rib, American mustard mayo, sliced beef tomato, little gem lettuce (£10.95)
This was really great and reminded me of the shredded beef that I always order in Mexican restaurants but 100x better. It was fresher, juicier and went so well with the dry aged beef patty. There was a lot of meat to this though; I could imagine a great combination of a Crispy Portobello Mushroom with this Balsamic-Glazed Short Rib on top as a Sandwich or Burger with the Cranberry Mayonnaise. My mouth is just watering thinking of it now....
This however was my FAVOURITE burger EVER! This is the Black and Gold and it is my ultimate comfort food: 6 oz dry aged beef patty, BLACK PUDDING, double cheese, American mustard mayo, sliced beef tomato. Absolute Heaven. The beef was cooked exactly to my liking (medium) and the quality of the beef and black pudding was phenomenal. I was lucky enough to taste Beth and Alex's. I know if I had ordered one to myself, I'm not sure I would have been able to walk home! This was my favourite out of the three that I tried.
Dessert: Fresh Brownies
We finished off our magnificent tasting menu with some fresh, warm, soft, brownies that had come right of the oven. I don't think many of us had much room left after all the rich food we had just tried! There's always room left for brownies in my world and these were some of the best I've tried. Brownies should never be dry. Period.
It was a fantastic evening overall and I would really recommend visiting The Fire Station, for drinks at their bar or for their food. If you're a morning person, they also do a super breakfast menu. Most of all, I was seriously impressed with The Fire Station's value for money; the burgers and pizzas average to about £8, and likewise with the cocktails. For everything that constitutes a diner's experience such as Quality of Product, Presentation, Ambiance and Service, and equally location (neighbours to Waterloo Station) these prices are excellent. Thank you so much to The Fire Station and to Su-Lin for organising this event. It was great to meet so many lovely people, and to eat fantastic great British food in the Christmas Spirit. I hope to see you all soon. Here is a photo souvenir of the night of me with Alex and Beth.