Friday, 2 April 2010

The Water House

A recent visit to The Water House on Regent's Canal, proved to be a gastronomical, educational and environmental experience. I had a essay to write about how I would turn a local eatery into a more ethical and sustainable environment. I did some research and found that London has a great collection of restaurants concerned with providing great food in comfortable surroundings, whilst lowering theirs and our CO2 footprints. Restaurants create a lot of waste, and this is a problem, not only for the environment, but also for the restaurant's efficiency. The Water House has won awards for coming up with smart ways to get around this. Every little detail has been carefully thought out to be as ethical as possible. How? Well, lets begin with the unique location. Situated right by Regents canal, and in a the middle of a newly built council block in Hackney, The Water House was part of a regeneration scheme started by The Shorditch Trust. The restaurant serves as a place for local people to come and enjoy a fine-dining experience, for a reasonable price. It also serves as a place for trainee eco-chefs to gain experience. Started by chefs from Jamie Oliver's 15, the strain is on making the chefs think more like gardeners as well as thinking like chefs. This hyper-breed, makes chefs more in tune with the seasonality of food and to think more locally. Food is sourced as local as possible. Most food, beer and wine is sourced within the London area. I got talking to our waitress and she told me even the rice is shipped over to cut down on CO2 emissions. Impressive? I think so. Especially as there was a good selection of food on the menu and everything ordered was a delight to my senses. Not only this, but i felt i was actually doing some good for once by eating out. The menu was laid out well, separating daily specials from monthly specials. For my first course, I order sour dough brochette with a selection of toppings. Once finished with my first course, the left over toppings were left on our table to be consumed at our own leisurely pace. This although, small would make all the difference to a restaurant.

Granted, The Water House aren't trying to win any Michelin stars, they want to create a relaxed environment, where people can come and enjoy good food. This couldn't be more different to a recent visit to The Princess of Shorditch, where although the food was sub-standered fine dinning, the atmosphere in there upstairs restaurant, was stiff, dingy and pretentious. I found i just couldn't let my self relax. I was even more disappointed when I had to fork out money for food i didn't really even enjoy and even more so for feeling unsatisfied. The Water House on the other hand is value for money. The bill did come out to £60, but this was for three courses, a glass of wine, and grappa (yes a shot of grappa after dinner, said to help digestion, but really not worth it) for two people. Not bad at all. I left feeling full and content, and better about life. Even the rain on the walk back to the station wasn't all that bad, knowing it was going to be collected by The Water House to be used in flushing their toilets.

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