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|Address:||43 The Cut, London SE1 8LF|
|Tel:||020 7928 7211|
|Price: £42.00||Wine: £17.00||Champagne: £42.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-11pm Sun 12.30-9pm|
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I visited Livebait Waterloo for lunch with my Pa and my new Step-Mummy the day after their wedding in Poole, Dorset. At the Hotel du Vin we drank and gorged until our mouths overflowed, then we crammed a little more in, sent it on its way with glasses of Pinot Noir and then toasted with a glass of Chapel Down Pinot Reserve Sparkling Wine. Later, we further evaporated two bottles of Chianti, another glass each of Pinot Noir, grappas (oh dear!), and if I recall correctly, a nightcap of Gonzalez sherry.
The next day we were back in the city and had lunch booked at Livebait in Waterloo, the original Livebait, opening in 1995. It had been a few years since I’d been to Livebait in Covent Garden, and I’m yet to drop into the Leeds and Manchester branches.
The fish soup arrived as a lovely little presentation and was as hot as a boiling kettle. It was served in an eerie witches’ caldron and tasted rich and fishy. There were three homemade croutons which I dropped into the soup and they quickly soaked up the liquid like little sponges. Some pepper seasoning and this was a wholesome and belly-warming beginning. Not bad for £6.95.
My roast fillet of cod was a fresh and meaty piece of fish, served with crushed new potatoes and a melted brick of butter, along with a lobster sauce (£17.50). The melted sunny-colour butter mixed with the crushed potatoes provided a creamy base for the cod to sit and there were potato skins left on which I think is an earthy little touch. The crispy cod skin was a second away from burnt and perfect in the mouth, crunching against the meaty flesh. The lobster sauce was light and is a wonderful addition to roast cod, presumably made from lobster shells and vegetables, a method which can also be used with crab and shrimp.
From our table we watched three alcohol and drug practitioners sway in the street. One fell hard with a thump while another rustled through his pockets and as fast as a zombie, attempted to run off in slow-motion. The third found a wall with his back and seemed to be trying to catch flies with his mouth – with no success. Perhaps it was street theatre? Interesting entertainment nevertheless from our table, at least until the boys in blue arrived to whisk them off.
Pa worked his way through four fine crisped Cornish sardines (£12.50) – too many spines and boney bits for me – and we shared some golden, chunky chips, a little steep at £3.75, but delicious. Plus, a rocket and Parmesan salad, also £3.75.
New Step-Mummy stuck to her rustic, country roots with a wild woodland mushroom risotto (£11.50). It was a healthy portion with a sticky consistency and plenty of mushrooms, finished with a generous shaving of Parmesan. All this was helped on its way with a few glasses of water and a carafe of Muscadet. A flinty French white with hints of pear and a worthy lunchtime plonk for fish, despite trudging through the day in our sorry states we finished the carafe rather swiftly.