Opening a restaurant on a street full of former stables is no easy move.
You’ll probably be faced with a lot of neigh-sayers.
But if anyone can do it, it’s the personable duo behind Bermondsey Street’s The Garrison (an intricately ornate gastropub, complete with deer heads on the walls, a cinema downstairs and waiters who wear lumberjack shirts and shorts), and the former Village East (a New York-style industrial space with high ceilings and cheery, uniformly-attired staff, now Loyal Tavern).
Venturing beyond Bermondsey for the first time, Riding House Café is the perfect solution for anyone who can’t decide whether they’re in a “quirky Garrison” mood or a “NYC dining Village East” mood – as it genuinely combines the best elements of both: knowledgeable, charming service; snappy surroundings; and excellent food.
The location of Riding House Cafe – just off Oxford Street – is ideal. Slap bang in the centre of town, yet tucked down a relatively quiet side street, it’s a welcome refuge whenever you feel like a smoked applewood cheeseburger and a ‘Mango’ cocktail made with illegal mezcal.
Which, let’s face it, is often.
Behind expansive windows, it’s a sleek, industrial dining room, with herringbone wood floors jostling alongside reclaimed cinema seating around long, communal tables. It’s a large space that, having been split into three main areas, feels intimate at the same time.
Most importantly, the newly rejigged menu is, while a little mind-boggling, delicious. Divided into all the categories you could need – bowls, sticks, bread, mains, small – it’s not immediately clear how much you should be ordering of anything. But the good news is that whatever you go for, it’ll be more than worth it. There’s Sicilian ‘music’ bread and marmite sourdough (which, predictably, you’ll either love or hate); skewered confit duck gizzards; Cajun bass with butter bean purée and coconut chutney; and short rib katsu with smoked mash.
Don’t worry, they still have the apple tarte tatin with popping candy to finish.
There’s wines, beers and ciders by way of liquid refreshment – and the cocktails here are on the quirky side, with salted honey margaritas; banana Old Fashioneds; spiced pear sazeracs and basil daiquiris.
After which, you might find yourself a little hoarse.
NOTE: The Riding House Cafe is open daily (no dinner service Sundays). You can find out more, or book a table right HERE.
The Riding House Cafe | 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PQ
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