Fitzrovia is one of my regular haunts for coffee and brunch in London. It’s buzzy and home to some of my all time favourites – Lantana, Kaffeine, London Cocktail Club… the list goes on. So does the Riding House Cafe on Great Titchfield Street make the cut?
Opened in May 2011, by the owners of Village East and the Garrison in Bermondsey, the Riding House Cafe sounds like something you would expect in the rolling English countryside, rather than the middle of the city. But this venue is a welcome escape from the clutches of horrible Oxford Street and its inevitable pedestrian rage and warfare.
Spacious and airy, the venue is elegantly styled throughout with its mish-mashed antique furniture, lamps and tarnished cupboards. All of this could go horribly wrong, especially with its reclaimed vintage wear but the crew manage to keep it classy instead of cheesy. Described as a modern style all day brasserie, it definitely is a step up from your average London cafe.
It’s an efficient operation here. Perched on the long counter bar, I couldn’t help admire the organisation of the staff in the well stocked open plan kitchen. The service is friendly and attentive with no hint of arrogance, well at least when we arrived before peak time (after 10.30am on a weekend).
The menu, is predominantly Modern European with a great traditional mix of all things eggs, pancakes and smoothies of the fruity variety. The menu is pretty pedestrian but there’s plenty to choose from.
The cappuccino was good (7/10), with a an impressive dense foam and a smooth flavour.
The Scottish salmon with scrambled eggs and sourdough (£8.50) was pretty tasty but not the best I have had by any means. The sourdough was airy and fresh with a generous lashing of salmon on the side. If I were to be really picky, the eggs were a little overcooked for my liking which made the texture dense rather than light and fluffy.
I actually preferred the eggs benedict (£9.5) served on toasted english muffins topped with hollandaise sauce, ham and a sprinkling of fresh parsley. The eggs were poached perfectly and didn’t come swimming with hollandaise sauce which was good considering the flavour was quite rich.
I wouldn’t say the Riding House Cafe is one of my favourite brunch spots in London but with good food, coffee and service it’s likely that I will retreat to it more often, to escape my inevitable shopping rage on Oxford Street.
£24 for two main brunch items and drinks (including service charge).
The Riding House Café, 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, London W1, tel: 020 7927 0840. Mon-Fri, 8am-11pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-11pm.