Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No. 177: Waterloo & City (Culver City)

Exterior & Signage
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.
Charcuterie Platter
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 . . .
Destroyed Charcuterie Platter
in the meantime, I found solace and comfort in my meatfree dishes . . .
Corn Soup w Parmesan Ravioli
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.
The Westside & Pimm's Cup cocktails
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.
Frittata of the Day
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.)
Sticky Toffee Pudding
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
(310) 391-4222


stuffycheaks said...

good for you, stay strong! I love the end result of the charcuterie plate.. your dining companions are such vultures. You seemed to fare well with that soup. I've been so in love with sweet corn this summer.

Diana said...

I loooved the sticky toffee pudding when I went there for dinner a month or so ago. Probably my favorite part of the meal! Though the tuna tartar app was very very nicely done too.

Anna A. said...

Yum! I like the brekkie moussaka and I would love that sticky toffee pudding. Still veggie - good for you!

Elise Crane Derby said...

This is one of my local places. I've had mixed experiences there. Some great, some not so much. But even when they miss, the staff is very nice about it, and really try to work something out.
I haven't been for brunch yet, I'll have to give it a try. If for no other reason than that watermelon/gin mojito thing....

Exile Kiss said...

Hi H.C.,

Thanks for the review. :) I've been meaning to stop by for a while now; hopefully soon.


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