REVIEW: Still Smoking Hot at The Fire Station Waterloo

Things just got hotter in Waterloo. A favourite landmark, The Fire Station, has re-opened after an extensive make-over. Like a phoenix from the proverbial it rises again after a one-year refurbishment of the entire building.

The former Waterloo Road Fire Station is Grade II listed.

The former Waterloo Road Fire Station is Grade II listed.

Back in the late 80s Fire Station was one of the first gastropubs – from Trevor Gulliver who went on to found St John, its red doors and neon were a bright light in an otherwise dark and unloved bit of Waterloo. It’s come a long way since its recent pub-style incarnation with a menu beef bourgignon and jam roly poly. Thank goodness for that.

The new fit out hasn’t gone overboard on cliche – so there’s no fireman’s pole but there are details such as vintage fire extinguishers, fire hose chandeliers, tap coat hooks, and a wall panel of the 1666 Great Fire of London – provocatively positioned right in front of the Gozney stone hearth wood-fired ovens.

The Fire Station

At the back of the Fire Station Waterloo it’s a bit cosier

The Fire Station Waterloo

some of the great design touches from the designers Concorde

The Fire Station Waterloo

industrial chic

The ground floor restaurant and bar opens for breakfast at 7am  and looks tasty from £5 to £8.50 for a Portobello mushroom, potato rosti, cheese, fried egg in a seeded roll or short rib, bubble & squeak with fried eggs.

For lunch and evening there’s a menu of interesting combo wood-fired pizzas and intriguing burgers. A really tasty and fresh pizza is the smoked mackerel, king prawns, mascarpone and soft boiled egg (£12.50 – the most expensive on the menu, the others from £7.95) and the stand out burger is the Black & Gold (£9.95) with juicy black pudding & double cheese. A real mouthful. Even the matchstick fries are just right. If you are only going to do pizza and burger then you need to get it right, and Fire Station does. The only alarm bell was the chicken burger with a salty crust – more cause for a thirst to be quenched with cold tap beers.

pizza at The Fire Station

mmm this was good – smoked mackerel, king prawns, conf it garlic butter base, marinated mozzarella, mascarpone,
rocket, soft boiled egg!

Burger at Fire Station Waterloo

a really great burger – the black and gold served in these cute wrappers.

Cocktails are ‘smoked’ inhouse – with the bar staff using flavoured oak chips to infuse the drinks.  Dark, sweet and smokey is the Cherry Manhattan at £8.75.

Fire Station Waterloo

a smokin’ bar man at The Fire Station

A really pretty drink is the Vanilla & Fig Sour made with fig-infused Maker’s Mark bourbon, chocolate bitters and egg white to give it some body. My favourite is the Pineapple & Black Pepper Margarita at £8.50 with Silver Patrón Tequila and cracked black pepper. You can taste the pepper even if you can’t quite see it.

proper cocktails at The Fire Station Waterloo

‘proper’ cocktails at The Fire Station Waterloo – this one cinnamon old fashioned & honey + basil daiquiri

Wines range from £3.20 for a 125ml glass / £18 a bottle. There’s Dom Pérignon at £135, but me thinks those yuppy days of the 80s are long gone now.  It’s still as noisy, though, with all that after work pub natter but there are some bolt holes at the back in cushioned booths and diner a deux tables. There’s no such thing as the best table here, they are all rather good. Pizzas are hearty and crisp, burgers are brave, and there’s a lot to like here. Waterloo has got back it’s brightest spark.

The Fire Station, 150 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8SB.

Tel. 020 3727 5938

The Fire Station is open all week. Monday to Wednesday from 7am until 11pm, Thursday to Saturday until midnight, Sunday until 10.30pm. Brunch: Monday to Friday 7am to noon, Saturday & Sunday 9am to 2pm Reservations: Telephone 020 3727 5938 Email

Twitter @150waterlooroad

Interiors at Fire Station Waterloo designed by Karim Mezeli at Concorde

Interiors at Fire Station Waterloo designed by Karim Mezeli at Concorde


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