Although we did not dine at Mira, one of the several fish restaurants situated below the apartment in which we stayed, I couldn’t help but take a photograph of their underwater offerings…
There’s nothing better than a wander up the King’s Road (or, a cycle, if I feel like taking my life in my handlebars) on a sunny Saturday morning. It helps when there’s an epicurian final destination. In this case, it’s the Duke of York square farmer’s market. In addition to the incredible wild boar tortelloni made by La Tua, there’s a splendid array of sweet palate pleasers. The above cake, with its rosemary infusion, was a nice change of pace from the standard lemon cake we’ve all tried before.
I recently had dinner at La Bodega Negra, opting for the more casual, reservation-free cafe instead of its cloak and dagger sister restaurant of the same name (located around the corner and through the entrance of a Soho sex shop). It should be mentioned here that the owners are the same guys who opened La Esquina in New York – a similarly stealthy underground location.
Ever the keen bean, I arrived earlier than those joining me and after a long day at work, went straight to the cocktail menu. They had a small selection of tequila drinks – nothing too outrageous but appealing nonetheless. I ordered the Pepino (tequila, cucumber, jalapeño and lime) and guzzled it all too quickly.
On the food front, we ordered a few basics to share – some tacos, guacamole, huevos rancheros (I order this whenever it is on a menu) and the Mexican truffle quesadilla. I must admit the huevos were just okay – something about the small tortilla, tiny portion of black beans and two eggs on a massive plate felt bare and flavourless. The quesadilla, on the other hand, was well seasoned and my top pick for the night. On a whim, we also ordered the heart of palm salad with added grilled chicken and it was pretty fantastic. The chicken was grilled in a spicy tomato sauce and served as a generous portion on the bed of greens. For the healthier pick, it was a surprise hit with our table.
Final feeling? The café has a great atmosphere (the soundtrack added a great vibe) and all the things you might want out of a casual meal. But the next time I’m looking for Mexican that’ll blow my socks off, I think I’ll head around the corner to the more formal restaurant.
Having – for some inexplicable reason – the notion that the Riding House Café (London) would be a small restaurant with uncomfortable orange upholstered chairs and a lacklustre menu of British heritage food, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was exactly the opposite.
Well, the leather banquettes were orange but alas, they were suitably comfortable for a lazy Sunday morning brunch. The large restaurant feels lively but not loud and lends itself well to a catch up with friends you have not seen in a while. Service was prompt and the maitre d’ atttentive (he tested each seat and place setting to make sure everything was in the right position before ushering new customers to the table).
The menu offered some of my top picks – from the healthier Bircher muesli and avocado toast to the more traditional full English and eggs benedict. Where it diverged was with some interesting combinations including chilled grapefruit with ginger sugar and mint and the heartier chorizo hash browns. I went with the Bircher and it did not disappoint. The shaved apple and shredded coconut combined with the oats, milk and other seeds made for a sweet treat that kept me full all day. Next time, I’ll go for a more stick-to-the-ribs meal of eggs and bacon.
Verdict: A brunch spot where one can eat virtuously or rapaciously is a place I will continue to visit over and over again. And you should too.