119 Waterloo Road
Formerly Waterloo Brasserie, this restaurant and bar is slap bang opposite The Fire Station pub next to Waterloo Station. Having eaten here whilst it was still the brasserie, I’ve always been a fan of the restaurant. It’s a versatile place – great for some pre-theatre cocktails, sat up at the sleek bar bar, great for some really decent jazz if you visit on the right night, and great for some classic dishes at reasonable prices. I seem to remember everything being red décor-wise, on my last few visits – with this trip to the new Waterloo Bar & Grill, the décor had been given an overhaul with tones of faun making their subtle mark. The atmosphere was still the same – buzzy at the bar as you walk in, and a little more serene as you wonder into the restaurant towards the back.
This bar & grill has a understated glamourous feel to it. There are plenty of glass finishes about, from the bauble lights above the bar, to the floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar that marks the start of the restaurant area. The restaurant in particular, looks plush and far more expensive than the menu’s price tag. Not long after we took our seats, we were talked into a few cocktails by the waiter. Long glasses in the shape of a fruity Pink Panther and a cooling Cucumber Martini arrived shortly afterwards, both of which took the edge off the working day in quaffable liquid style.
The new bar & grill format has been introduced to cater to the time-poor pre-theatre crowd with light starters, burger and grill options. Our starters were nice enough – tea-smoked salmon and squid with Parmesan & rocket, but the cocktails had won so far. Since we were checking out a bar & grill, it seemed a good plan to go for the steak between us for our main dish. It came with very decent chips, but the rib eye was fatty and tough in places, which was a real shame as we were really looking forward to eating every mouthful. Puds were a more successful affair with a deliciously smooth and rich chocolate mousse, and a moreish deep-fried jam sandwich arriving on our table. The mousse came complete with spacedust weaved into it, so our mouths crackled and popped as we delved in. Oh to be seven again. If you’re hankering after your childhood days, swallowing a packet of spacedust will do the trick. If you’re after a smattering of childhood memories, mixed in with adult sophistication, this is the pud to choose. The jam sandwich was also a great dessert and looked like French toast, topped with a ball of ice cream.
I was a big fan of the previous menu and the steak dish didn’t leave me feeling quite so smitten with the new bar & grill version, but the Waterloo Bar & Grill has a lot of good things going for it. If the rib eye can get its act together, hopefully it will be as decent as the staff that serve it up, the cocktails that ease you into your evening and the classy décor - all things that give this place real potential.
For more information, visit: http://www.waterloobarandgrill.com/
Waterloo Bar & Grill: 119 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8UL. Tel: 020 7960 0202
Written by: Helenka Bednar