The Water House Project

Modern European·
££££
·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of The Water House Project

Silver Award

Bethnal Green is a funny patchwork of trendy coffee shops, bougie plant nurseries and dark, graffitied passageways. The Water House Project is a microcosm of that - it’s a little off the beaten track (down a particularly moody alley if you’re coming from Cambridge Heath) but emerge into Corbridge Crescent and you find the restaurant, resplendent in glass and concrete.

Chef Gabriel Waterhouse started his eponymous venture in his Bethnal Green flat in 2015, but has since evolved the concept to a bricks-and-mortar site. And yet, the restaurant still feels homely - there’s no divide between the kitchen and dining room, and combined with the enormous glass windows, high ceilings and smooth Nordic design, you feel as though you’re in someone’s Grand Designs kitchen.

At £120 per person, dinner with Gabriel is an expensive undertaking, but that price includes a drinks pairing (six throughout the meal), so if you’re someone who likes a wine flight, the price isn’t as wallet-crushing as it looks.

Dishes here have a fascinating ability to conjure nostalgic flavours. A sweetcorn mousse - light and frothy - paired with raisin chutney and herring roe, somehow has the fizzing essence of a prawn cocktail Skip (in a really good way). Later, a combo of Jerusalem artichoke, onion ash and hazelnut reminds us of a Snickers bar.

Taste and memory is very subjective of course, but there’s something very smart going on here. Every dish is a piece of art, beautifully sculpted and meticulously crafted. A gossamer-thin pastry case is the vehicle for a single bite of smoked eel, pineapple gel and horseradish - delicious. Cardamom sorbet, saffron custard, pistachio and rose is another stunning highlight. There are no missteps on the menu but a few dishes are perhaps playing a bit safe. Torched mackerel, horseradish, lovage and gooseberry is undeniably tasty, but we’ve eaten similar things on similar menus before.

Still, it feels unfair to criticise great food, and everything at The Water House Project is great, not least the personable and attentive service. We leave feeling well fed and happy. The alleyways are considerably duskier now, but The Water House Project at least has a bright future in Bethnal Green.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
Modern European
Ambience
Fine dining, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Unique
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner
Special Features
Vegetarian options
People
Dates, Special occasions

About

Chef Gabriel Waterhouse originally set up his eponymous dining concept, The Water House Project, in 2015. At that point, it was housed within his own flat in Bethnal Green, but then went on to host a successful residency on Hackney’s Mare Street.

In the autumn of 2021, Waterhouse finally opened a bricks-and-mortar site for the operation, close to Regent’s Canal and a short walk from Bethnal Green station. The focal point of the open plan space is the centrally placed kitchen, where guests can watch the chef and his team at work. The restaurant can host up to 40 guests at one time, who can choose to dine either on two communal tables, or keep to themselves on eight smaller tables dotted around the space.

The food offering at The Water House Project consists of a nine-course tasting menu which changes monthly. Although dishes change often, you can always expect to find earthy flavours and subtle nods to Nordic cuisine, with Waterhouse having a penchant for pickling and fermenting. The sort of dishes you might come across on your visit include the likes of girolles with tarragon and mushroom consomme, Herdwick lamb with black garlic, polenta and mint or St Austell mussels with jerusalem artichoke that’s pepped up with chive and lemon. To round off your meal, tuck into dessert options such as miso and chocolate cookies, or orange and Szechuan marshmallows served alongside fresh mint tea. There is also a dedicated vegetarian tasting menu available for diners who don’t eat meat.

Paired wines are an important part of the experience here and the list is updated regularly alongside the food offering. Wines are sourced from across Europe, using producers that favour low-intervention methods. Those who prefer other tipples can instead try pre-batched house-made cocktails, which are also updated seasonally.


FAQs

Can you book?

Yes, booking in advance is essential.

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Are there vegetarian options?

Yes, a dedicated vegetarian menu is available.

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Who is the chef?

The chef is Gabriel Waterhouse, who has previously worked at Galvin La Chapelle.

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The Water House Project is featured in

Location

1 Corbridge Crescent, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9DS
Website

Opening Times

Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 19:00-23:00
Thu 19:00-23:00
Fri 19:00-23:00
Sat 19:00-23:00
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri Closed
Sat 12:30-15:30
Sun Closed

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