Friday, 28 September 2012

The best breakfast in town?

I set off to review the Riding House Café on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer. I was feeling a little bit grumpy about the fact that I wasn't going to be able to sit outside, until I arrived (sweltering at 10.30 in the morning!) to be greeted by a sunny smile, as cheerful as anything outside, and blissful air-conditioning!

After being shown to our gorgeously squishy banquette seat by the window (nearly outside!) my first port of call was the loo. Girls always like to know what the loos are like, and the answer here is very cool. We're talking exposed brickwork, a simple copper pipe for a tap, and a matching metal clad Dyson hand dryer. Best of all? The basin and dryer are in the cubicle so no boring queuing up with wet hands.

Anyway, back upstairs and the quirky design details continue. Stuffed squirrel wall lights, a long communal table made form reclaimed timber and using scaffolding as legs, oversized hanging lampshades… it should feel gimmicky but it doesn't. There's just enough kitsch detail combined with seriously good design that it really works. As an interior designer by training I was impressed by all the little touches (the blue water glasses, enamel water jugs and smoothies served in milk bottles) and I also loved the fabulous New York style bar lined with comfy blue leather stools. I would happily come here on my own and sit at the bar, but clearly some cocktails with a glamorous date would be even better! There'd definitely be a great, buzzy vibe in the evenings.

So, on to the food. We came for brunch, which is what the Riding House Café is famed for. It works so well as a date because of it's informal nature and the fact that it can lead on to a whole day spent together… We both started with delicious smoothies served in half-pint milk bottles. I followed this with the legendary buttermilk pancakes. They were amazing and definitely the best I've had this side of the U.S. I tried to be good by not eating the clotted cream that came with them but let's be honest; brunch here is not the place to be good! 

Despite not needing it I then had (perfectly cooked) poached eggs with a chorizo hash brown and baby spinach on the side. My idea of heaven. My date went for the brilliantly named "Full and Proper English Breakfast" with a huge slice of black pudding. The black pudding wasn't on the menu but he asked for it and got it - great service.

In fact, the service in general was excellent with lots of friendly staff milling around, adding to the great atmosphere. This place gets a huge thumbs up from me and I'll be back again for a brunch and definitely some post Oxford Street shopping cocktails with the girls!

My top tip?  Breakfast ends at 11:30 so make sure you get there in time!

1 comment:

  1. Definatly worth a visit, was amazing. Don't be put off by reference to stuffed squirrels. I'm a veggie and I didn't notice them so it didn't put me off my breakfast. Nice way to impress a date x