Surrounded by industrial units just off the Kingsland Road, Waterhouse is something of an unexpected gem. Recently refurbished, the space is modern and bright, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Regent’s Canal. The outdoor tables are prime spots for people- (and duck-) watching, as Haggerston’s cyclists and dog-walkers parade along the opposite side of the waterway.
The restaurant is part of a scheme to train underprivileged locals in the catering trade via the charity Shoreditch Trust, so don’t be surprised to hear the head chef putting apprentices through their paces in the open kitchen. It’s all part of the atmosphere, and results in excellent value, with most daytime mains costing £6 (prices are higher for dinner). The grill was put to good use in a verdant appetiser of chargrilled courgette, asparagus and peas, and imparted a Mediterranean flavour to a main course of bream. Spiced lamb lasagne was a hearty rendition of a classic, and all the dishes were enticingly presented.
To drink, there’s a brief wine list and beers from east London breweries. Far from being worthy, Waterhouse offers an object lesson in making sustainability and social enterprise in the food world seem dynamic and forward-looking.