I wear my heart out on my sleeve
A sight you surely must have spied by now
If you’ve ever been out on the lash, become a bit tired and emotional, been dragged into pubs and clubs where the only things you remember are bright disorientating lights and constant noise, people zooming into focus and out again, a bit like that scene in Mean Streets where Harvey Keitel gets drunk. Well, that was me that was at the recently opened Waterloo Brasserie.
‘WB’ as it jauntily likes to be known is the offshoot of somewhere called the Cheyne Walk Brasserie which has been serving up expensive food to the good people of Chelsea for several years. I’ve never been there but looking at the picture on their website I was hoping that the new place would be something approaching an oaisis of calm and civility with a nice bit of bustle. What I got was more akin to eating on the concourse of Waterloo Station.
Let’s start with the good things. Well, there’s the close proximity of The Drain to take me back home. That was pretty cool. The rest unfortunately was pretty, pretty bad. Where do we start ? Ah yes, the décor. It’s as if the owners wanted to recreate the feel of a disco of the 80’s that wanted to be all cutting edge and 90’s . They wanted to recreate it but couldn’t because the money ran out so it all comes over as really, really cheap and very, very tacky. The bar is narrow and crowded with the great and good and pissed of Suburbiton having an overpriced drink before catching the 1918 from Platform 2. The adjoining casual eating area looked a mess with tables left cluttered with discarded newspapers used glasses and plates, various people wandering around and a very loud and annoying sound system.
Things were a bit calmer in the backroom save for Centrefold (J.Geils Band) blasting out of the Bose speakers. It was also so dark I thought its raison d’etre may be something other than eating and drinking. Service was enthusiastic and well-meaning enough but a bit scatter-brained – they’d only be opened a few days so I’ll forgive them that. What I can’t really forgive is the cooking which was dire. A starter of Duck Gisard (sic) and Chicken Livers was a rather moist collection of leaves with some bird parts scattered throughout. Hard to tell if the meat was cooked ok as it was all so wet. I couldn’t see it, it tasted of soggy salad.
A “Veal Chop” didn’t seem to be a chop at all. It was cooked as ordered but had the odd texture of something you would put in a vase to hold flowers in place. Same flavour too. It came with some unadvertised shallots and some kids’ soft building bricks which I correctly identified as polenta. The second cooking of the “Twice Cooked Chips” was obviously to slowly poach them in rancid oil. They were taken from the bill unlike the Creamed Spinach in which a bowl of waterlogged greens was given the briefest of introductions to a little cream and then mugged on the way to my table by a gang of unblanched garlic. Nasty. I passed on dessert.
As everyone concerned with this miserable enterprise seems to be French I can only assume that it’s their way of getting revenge for er…Waterloo. Hopefully, they’ll leave St Pancras alone. Given WB’s location though I’m sure it will do very well – there is enough passing trade: tourists, commuters etc. to mean they’ll never get the same customer twice. Which they shouldn’t given how bad the place is.