Published on September 3rd, 2015 | by Gavin1
The Fire Station, Waterloo
Summary: After a year long refurbishment, The Fire Station is back and better than ever
Situated in what was once the Lambeth fire house, The Fire Station is one of the most iconic building’s in Waterloo, and arguably as important to the local scene as The Old Vic (everyone needs a good drink, right?!). If you’ve been to The Fire Station then you will know what I’m talking about, but if not, now is the perfect time because they’ve just gone through a much needed makeover.
The Fire Station made its name in the 1980s as a popular after work hangout for local business people and large groups of friends looking for a lively atmosphere. So with over 30 years’ service, the place was in need of a lick of paint and took a whole year to get things just right. The changes have been subtle yet effective, with vintage style updates to remain true to the heritage of the Grade II Municipal building; my favourites being the slick copper bar area, fire hose chandeliers hanging from the roof, and glazed brickwork.
As well as the physical changes, there has been a complete overall of the food and drink menu too, but in contrast to the décor, they’ve gone modern rather than classic. As you’d expect from a post work waterhole, the list of craft beers is extensive, however it’s the cocktails that make me sit up and take note. I was expecting mojitos and strawberry daiquiris considering the clientele that used to frequent The Fire Station, but I was pleasantly surprised to find homemade spirits, chocolate bitters and even a smoker!
There are three smoked cocktails on the menu and (naturally) I sampled all of them. Low and behold, not only was my Cinnamon Old Fashioned made with Bulleit Bourbon(£8.75) the right kind of sweet, it also arrived with a spherical ice cube- when will the surprises end?! Likewise, you couldn’t go wrong with the Smoked Cherry Manhattan (£8.75) made with Bulleit Bourbon, Jim Beam and Cherry Brandy; if the food is just as good then we’re in for a treat.
The menu is a choice between pizza or burgers. There are six burgers to choose, ranging from £8-£11 and it would have been rude not to take a nibble (or few) of each. The 6oz Maple Glazed Bacon (£8.85) is my pick of the bunch with a generous cut of pork more akin to gammon than bacon, and after a few drinks, I couldn’t think of a better hole filler. However that’s not to say it didn’t have its faults.
My favourite burger experiences tend to be messy affairs with juice running down my chin, sauce sprayed all over my crisp white shirt, and a satisfying look all over my face; but I didn’t get any of that on this occasion. I think my main issue was that the burgers are cooked medium-well rather than medium-rare, so the patty was too firm and dry- the tell-tale sign being how clean my plate remained after the first bite. Additionally, the buttermilk chicken burger (£8.50) was so salty it was rendered inedible by all at the table. I was reliably informed though that this was an anomaly rather than the norm.
Better was to follow with the stone baked pizzas…
With the new refurbishment also came two stone ovens capable of heating up to 450 degrees Celsius, and they’ve certainly put them to good use with six carefully chosen options. I can’t recommend the spicy chilli chicken (£9.75) highly enough, the addition of sweet peppadew peppers and goat’s cheese made it the standout dish of the evening.
The buffalo mozzarella and sun dried tomato (£7.95) is another safe bet, it’s always a good sign when the vegetarian option disappears quicker than the meat (even the crusts had been scoffed!).
After a great evening, I can confidently say The Fire Station has made a triumphant return. The owners have successfully recaptured the atmosphere of the original Fire Station and significantly improved the food and drink offerings in the process- a local treasure for residents and workers alike.
The Fire Station, 150 Waterloo Road, SE1 8SBShare This Post