When I got the invite to check out the debut of Waterloo & City's brunch, I was a bit ambivalent about attending. Their menu is very meat-forward, and I didn't want to feel like the odd vegetarian out (or worse, fall off the wagon) but their PR assured me that a fellow vegetarian will be attending the event as well, so I accepted their generous offer and shlepped my non-meat-eating behind to Culver City.
That's not to say I wasn't tempted, especially when Proprietor & Exec. Chef Brendan Collins pulled out all the stops with his King's platter of housemade charucterie ($32,) including beef drippings, salmon & potato terrine, chicken liver & foie gras mousse and even more exotic cuts such as venison and rabbit (throw in a skunk and you got a butchered Bambi cast reunion! Thankfully, Collins didn't.)
Of course, sitting in the middle of table mean I was in the center of the pate and terrine "sharing" action, which eventually turned the beautiful display of meats into this . . .
in the meantime, I found solace and comfort in my meatfree dishes . . .
A corn and pepper soup with parmesan cheese ravioli ($8) - rich and sweet with just a little bit of zip, it captured the essence of summer corn shucked at the peak of ripeness. Even though it was a hot summer afternoon, I can't help taking repeat sips of this piping hot soup. You say insanity, I say irresistibly delicious.
To counter the heat of the soup, I got a refreshing and perfect-for-brunch cocktail called "The Westside" ($10) a light and fragrant of beefeater 24 gin, watermelon, mint and lemonade. In hindsight, I wish I could bring it out on their lovely restaurant patio or game room, and relax and sip away while everyone else is going carnal on the charcuterie.
For my entree, I got their frittata of the day ($10,) which incorporated tomatoes, eggplants and mozzarella cheese -- or as I call it, a breakfast moussaka. It was fluffy, cheesy, zesty with flavorful veggies, I also love that it's made to order in a precious-looking mini skillet (as opposed to the usual reheated slice of a larger frittata at most other places.)
The tasty final bite came in the form of a trio of their desserts (and I'm definitely impressed that Chef Collins is also the pastry chef too!) All three were good, but my favorite was their sticky toffee pudding with milk ice cream and salted caramel ($8.) Again, being a hot baked sweet treat, it's more of a cold-weather item but it was just so decadently indulgent I had no shame going back for seconds, maybe thirds since no one was looking (moist sponge cake thoroughly soaked through with hot, buttery toffee sauce? yes please!) Besides, they're recovering from the meat-heavy brunch-induced food coma. Tough beans for them!
Leaving the hosted brunch thoroughly satisfied, I'm also glad that 1) I can actually survive a media meal as a vegetarian and 2) that even meat-forward places like Waterloo & City are taking time to put together tasty vegetarian-friendly options instead of relegating them to a generic minestrone soup & garden salad combo. And of course, I'm thrilled to discover a British-inspired place that I can bring my sheperd's pie, fish & chips and charcuterie loving friends to -- and we can still both find something great off the menu.
What Do Others Say?
- It got a solid 2.5 stars from LA Times for "its inspired British and Mediterranean fare."
- LAist did brunch with me that day, and agreed "the Sticky Toffee Puudding is . . . the way to go."
- Another brunch companion, Savory Hunter, gave props to its "ambitious but accessible cuisine, where the vibe is comfy and genial."
- Trippy Food & Deep End Dining collaborated on a slideshow-podcast recapping almost every dish served that day.
- Both Thirsty in LA & Grub Street LA got the lowdown on its two happy hours (5-7p & last two hours @ bar/lounge daily.)
- Caroline on Crack tried to go incognito but got caught by PR, but still "received very friendly and attentive service and the food . . . was delicious" prior to being recognized.
- Stuffy Cheaks went during opening week and "it won [her] heart."
More pics for my & dining companions' eats & drinks here
Waterloo & City
12517 West Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90066