Dine LA: Waterloo +City - Gourmet British Food?
Usually, the words ‘gourmet’ and ‘British food’ don’t end up in sentences even remotely near each other, so the idea of a restaurant like Waterloo + City is potentially abhorrent to those who are unable to conceive of it. Andreanna and I joined another couple, also foodies, to give it a taste drive during the opening week of Dine LA, and we were more than pleasantly surprised. We were blown away.
The first thing you should know about Waterloo + City is that, though it’s a fine dining establishment, easily capable of eliciting a triple-digit bill, it doesn’t have to be that way. What I was first drawn to was the neighborhood-y vibe to the whole thing, what with the inviting bar that serves happy hour drinks every night from 5-7PM and all. And the aforementioned happy hours are made even happier with their Pub Days, Sunday and Monday, during which you can get a two course menu for $20 or a three course for $27.
This, however, was Dine LA, so we eschewed the pub menu and headed straight for the restaurant, where we grabbed a couple of drinks from the bar menu and settled in to see what we could see.
On offer for $34 was a truncated three-course deal that offered 3-4 appetizers, mains, and desserts. So, we negotiated and decided to order at least one of everything so that we could taste it all.
Mine was an arugula salad with grilled pears and smoked almonds, which were delicious. The whole thing was adorned with a see-through sliver of Parmesan, which really married all of the tastes together well. I was very, very pleased with my salad, but Andreanna’s appetizer, pictured above, was so good, it made me wish I’d ordered it myself, which is kind of a tall order, considering I don’t usually cotton to chicken liver and all.
Let me back up for a moment and tell you what you’re looking at. It’s a terrine of chicken liver and fois gras, served with fresh crostini, sweet potato jam, a caperberry, pickled onion, and a cornichon, for good measure. Goddamn, was this delicious, and, in a place that’s got a lot of charcuterie on the menu, a fine place for a novice to dip their toes in before getting to some of the harder stuff, like pig’s ear and trotters, both of which were also on the menu.
The third of the apps was a tuna tartare that came with a fried and stuffed piquillo pepper on top. Stuffed with what, you might ask? More tuna. Genius.
Before too long, it was time for the mains. I ordered a pork chop which came with a pie-spiced apple, a slab of deep fried pork belly, a squash puree, and a potato gratin. Now, I don’t make a habit of ordering pork chops out very often, because I can make them pretty well myself, but I can’t tell you how glad I was that I did, because this might have been the best single piece of pork I’ve ever put in my mouth. Seriously, it was amazing. And the pork belly was not only audacious, but added a different piggy flavor to the entire experience.
Andreanna got a chicken and apricot pot pie which was just as blue collar as it was gourmet, and was delicious and fresh, and at least enough for two meals. A bargain!
I should digress to point out for a moment that a lot of restaurants are dismissive of Dine LA patrons, which was a topic of conversation at the table. Waterloo + City were not among them. The service was not only top notch, friendly and knowledgeable, but the portions and the offerings on the budget menu were spectacular. New restaurants, if you want to use opportunities like Dine LA to introduce novices to your place, this is exactly the way to do it. I will eat at W+C again…hopefully many times.
Finally, desserts arrived, and were prodigious. I ordered an orange crepe with a cocoa ice cream that was bursting with fresh citrus flavor and was absolutely delicious…and it was the least well-received among the three dessert choices.
Another plate was filled with caramel-drizzled donuts, hot and fresh, which came with more caramel, orange cream, and homemade vanilla ice cream. There were eight donuts on the plate, more than enough to share and bring home, which we did.
The coup de grace for dessert, though, was the authentically delicious sticky toffee pudding, ending our meal by putting us back, smack dab, on the streets of London. Finished off with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream, it was a real accomplishment, and the sort of thing that will likely make British ex-pats weep with joy.
I can not recommend this restaurant highly enough. We are trying to get out to another during Dine LA, which finishes up next week.
Until next time, happy eating!