Let’s make no mistake – the Wapping Project is no pie house. What it is however is one of only 2 UK restaurants in “Extreme Restaurants” – a guide to some of the world’s weirdest and most unique eating places. The Wapping Project is housed in a former hydraulic power station in this corner of east London.
What’s more unusual though, is that all the machinery has been left in the building, not to mention
the original (minimal) decor, fixtures and fittings. The result is a dramatic and effortlessly cool environment, with candles melting on old turbines and speakers hidden amongst the pipework. The staff are as minimalistic as the place itself and on our visit (a Saturday lunchtime) Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” gave the whole place a surreal quality.
So, onto the food and drink. The only pie on the daily changing menu was a wild rabbit pie with mustard mash and gravy. On arrival, the heavenly aroma of succulent rabbit (think chicken, but more moist and more flavour) and a rich gravy greeted me. Although we didn’t venture onto the wine list on this visit, the great selection of reds would have been the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Creamy wholegrain mustard mash, little pearly onions and the tasty pie, crammed with well cooked rabbit and herbs, were a real treat – my only criticism being that a slightly larger pie would have finished the job in a single course!
The atmosphere was however pretty minimal, being very quiet and almost empty. This gave us plenty of time to savour the food and our surroundings though, so all in all a very different experience and a unique and very tasty pie. There is also a gallery adjoining the restaurant, which allows the diner to stretch his or her legs following their meal.
Ale: n/a but wine list looked good
Tim Purdy, 24 October 2009