A Festive Affair at the Smokin’ Hot Fire Station:
Working freelance it is perfectly possible to completely miss that ‘Christmas Party’ vibe. There are times when, Scrooge-like, I am quite happy NOT to take part in all the fun. But, sometimes I walk past a buzzing restaurant and just yearn to be there, in the middle of the seasonal chaos with crackers, paper hats, turkey dinner and secret santa gifts. So, I was delighted this year to be invited along to The Fire Station to preview their Christmas Menu along with a group of other food bloggers. The restaurant and bar is one I’ve walked past many times (it is just on the corner of Waterloo Station). But generally I’m in that area because I’m going somewhere and I don’t have time to stop.
Inside, there’s a lot of space. The building which houses The Fire Station restaurant was one of London’s first working Fire Stations – so of course it is big enough to house fire engines and equipment – or a lot of hungry and thirsty diners! There’s a busy bar area to the frong and a slightly more laid back restaurant to the back of the building where you can enjoy gourmet pizza and burgers all the year round. And, at this time of year, a few seasonal specials.
We started with cocktails. In my case, a suitably smoked Cinnamon ‘Old Fashioned’ which I loved. But then I have developed quite a taste for Bourbon and this particular rendition brought out the smokey notes of the Bulleit Bourbon with the home made cinnamon liqueur adding just enough sweetness. Later, we wandered over to the bar to see how the house selection of smoked cocktails were made. Nothing like as complicated as I thought, but something that added a real edge to the drink.
Then a plate of Caramel and Chilli chicken wings appeared, with a wonderfully sticky sauce and a squeeze of lime for extra taste. They disappeared in a trice.
Our table, decked with tinsel and crackers, was then laden down with a selection of gourmet pizzas. There was a smoked mackerel, king prawn and egg pizza with rocket, mozzarella, confit garlic and mascarpone down one end, which got rave reviews from the diners. And a few classic pizzas like this mozzerella basil and tomato with olives.
But for me, the Christmas Pizza, with roast parsnip crisps, sage and cranberry was the real winner. A fabulously crisp base, laden with Christmassy flavours. I was trying SO hard to avoid eating too much at this stage – and failing.
Next, burgers. The Christmas Burger is a splendid concoction of spiced buttermilk turkey with maple bacon, pork and sage. Moist and succulent, the buttermilk turkey was utterly delicious.
We also shared some of the house specials – a rather delicious ‘Black and Gold, so called because it includes a beef patty, black pudding and cheese.
There was a veggie Portobello mushroom burger and, for the die-hard carnivores a glazed short rib burger, with balsamic glazed short rib topping the beef patty.
And there were house fries, deliciously morish sweet potato fries and a spicy coleslaw.
We were FAR too full to order desserts each. Instead, we just tasted some of the brownies.
This IS the sort of place to go with a group of friends when you want to enjoy a fun, festive spread without breaking the bank. Burgers and Pizzas are all around £10, cocktails £8.50. There’s a lively atmosphere and staff are friendly and helpful. Just the sort of place to go for a Christmas Party. Or, any kind of party.
Oh, and at less than a minute from Waterloo Station, it’s easy to get home, no matter how late your party goes on for.
London SE1 8SB, UK