Located inside Yorkshire Square Brewery in downtown Torrance, Snap Tin Eatery makes the most of its English brewery setting, offering a terrifically inventive SoCal variation on modern British pub cuisine.
While all too often brewery fare is made up of tired fries and sandwiches, chef Bruno Wu and the Snap Tin team make sure that is not the case here.
Wu grew up in Brazil and worked at a wide range of restaurants including The Katsu-ya Group before beginning his own business as personal chef and restaurant consultant. Creating the meals at Snap Tin is a new venture: the dining program soft-opened on June 5 with appetizers-only; new dishes have been added continually since then.
“We’ve been planning for a while, but we’re executing everything in a short amount of time. It’s a fun challenge,” said Wu. “60 to 70 percent of the menu is British—welsh rarebit, fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, but with a twist. For example, our twist on a traditional Scotch Egg includes a small arugula salad.”
While we waited for our food, we shared two generous taster flights of eight beers.
My favorite was the crisp and hoppy Cousin Alpha American-style pale ale; the Early Doors pub bitter, described as an ionic British pint was a close second. My partner enjoyed the Tweedy, an Anglo-Californian IPA.
We started with a wonderful, warm, soft pretzel that comes with a nice coarse mustard, plus a beer cheese and sausage dip made with Yellow School Bus cask ale, one of the many beers on tap.
Made in-house, the pretzels are delightfully airy, in part because Wu has replaced water in the mix with wurt from the brewery, which is also in the sauce.
Our salad was the delightful Green Envy, consisting of arugula, cilantro, mint, parsley, edamame, avocado, and thin cucumber slices in flavorful but light house-made Green Goddess dressing.
The salad was perfectly dressed; neither too much nor too little. It was shareable green goodness at its best. Also on the menu was a Snap Tin South Bay Salad that we want to try next time, with red onion, roasted corn, and a scratch-made avocado ranch. There are three salads in all, the third being a Wedge, and their addition to the menu lightens it and makes a terrific contrast with the richer sandwiches and mains.
As an entrée, we chose what Wu considers one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the Snap Tin Fried Fish Flight.
It’s three pieces of Pacific Cod, fresh and tender, dipped in three different beer batters, served with fries. It can be made vegan, with the fish exchanged for tofu. It serves as a signature to showcase the brewery’s beer – the beer batters rotate with the tap, but always feature light, dark, and a bitter beer as the three flavor selections. In our batters were the Cousin Alpha; the Wuthering Stout; and the Early Doors pub bitter. Each were discernible and equally delicious, as were the crisp skinny fries, and house-made dips of malt-vinegar gastrique – nicely sweet, and the creamy tartar sauce.
Wu notes he tries to add beer elements to as much of the menu as possible, cooking the menu’s meats sou vide using beer and making onion gravy with stout.
“It’s all about making the beers shine,” he said.
Wu is working on offering vegan meat substitutes such as the Impossible or Beyond Meat burgers and having jackfruit as a meat substitute in other dishes; those additions are in the works.
For dessert: a terrific Triple Cherry Bomb, made by deep frying Yorkshire pudding shells, and filling them with a lovely sweet and tangy triple berry sauce, rolling the ample balls in sugar and cinnamon, and topping them with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Like everything else we tried on the menu, the Triple Cherry Bomb is bomb. And, it all goes great with beer.
Snap Tin Eatery is located inside the Yorkshire Square Brewery, 1109 Van Ness Ave. in Torrance.