By A. Paul Mitchell, London Dining Review, July 30, 2012
Proximity to the Covent Market provides the menu at Waldo’s on King with an exciting seasonal freshness. If the adage is correct that 90% of cooking is in shopping for ingredients, then good taste and outstanding service certainly contribute more than their share to a 110% effort.
As a contemporary bistro with a funky, artistic atmosphere, the menu offers something for everyone. There are sandwich and vegetarian selections (Croque Monsieur, $11.00 and Butternut Squash Ravioli, $12.00), but also an impressive number of seafood offerings (Pan-Seared Perch, $12.00). I am normally skeptical about ordering seafood in land-locked London, but my confidence stems from being seated adjacent to the market.
The custom, cooked-to-order lunch Pasta Bar ($13.00) is appealing. Chef Mark Kitching’s ‘ordering checklist’ sheet provides an abundant assortment of pasta shapes and meat and vegetable toppings to create infinite possibilities. I combine baby shrimp and bay scallops with onion, garlic and peppers to angel hair pasta and a blush sauce. Although fish and cheese is not a typical ideally-suited pairing, I request grated parmesan to the top.
My bowl arrives smothered with bright pink sauce. The pasta is freshly made, delicious and suitably sized for a lunch portion, albeit overcooked. Small savory scallops and zingy shrimp punctuate the creaminess, as do four types of peppers for crunch and a squeeze of lemon.
Friendly and efficient service complements a predictably unpretentious and satisfying meal.
Despite a busy lunch-hour service, Waldo’s on King still provides personalized, courteous service and ‘a la minute’ cooking that makes this creative and cozy bistro an ideal showcase for market-fresh ingredients.
Waldo’s on King
130 King Street (in the Covent Market)
Hours: Sunday, 12:00 noon – 9:00 pm; Monday to Thursday, 11:30 am – 9:00 pm; Friday, 11:30 am – 10:00 pm; Saturday, 12:00 noon – 10:00 pm
Rating: **** (4)
Price range: lunch, $9.00 – $21.00; dinner entrées $23.00 – $30.00