The Riding House Cafe…and a tenuous link to Belinda Carlisle

I love observing the building hype of a new restaurant opening. I’m a big fan of The Garrison and Village East so was very excited to hear that they were growing their dynasty and opening a brand new venture…The Riding House Cafe. I’ve been following their regular blogs and tweets closely, saw the arrival of their new signage and seating and have heard all about the trials and tribulations experienced before the launch. The minute I heard that they were taking bookings I jumped into action, not only because my curiosity had been piqued but as an added bonus…they were offering 50% off all food until May.

The day of my booking arrived and I was really looking forward to the experience as all reviews I’d read so far had been positive. Now, I’m one of those rarities…a non-iphone/smartphone owner, which doesn’t usually impact negatively on my life, apart from when I’m lost and the rudimentary map I’ve scribbled on a post it note just isn’t up to scratch! This is the sitaution I found myself in on my way to the RHC, my sense of direction is shocking and for some reason I was sure Great Titchfield Street was closer to Tottenham Court Road than Oxford Circus…duh!

When I finally arrived I was instantly impressed…the place is huge and the decor emits the cool, quirky, stylishness that the other 2 restaurants do so well! We were sat at a corner table with bright red comfy banquet seating. The staff were very attentive and what they lacked in knowledge (i.e where the toilets were) they made up for in enthusiasm.

Everything on the menu sounded amazing, which posed the problem of what to choose. In the end we settled for a carafe of red wine and some bread with deliciously fruity olive oil and artichoke puree to aid with the decicion making process.

We had a couple of small plates to start with…slow roasted pork belly with cumin salt…

Which was so succulent with crackling to die for…perfect for a total salt fiend like me!

We also had tasty chermoula spiced poussin with jalapeno and lemon on a tabbouleh style salad…

I’d had my eye on the steak but was informed that the 8oz sirloin was off the menu and all they had was a 10oz ribeye. Usually this wouldn’t faze me but for some reason I just didn’t think I would do such a large steak justice so I opted for the cheeseburger with smoked cheddar, gherkin and chips…

The chips had the skin on and were cooked to perfection as was my burger. Even though it was delicious it beat me, which is nearly unheard of!

My friend Kim had simple but tasty fish and chips with pea puree and tartare sauce…

We were so unbelievably full but had seen an amazing dessert pass us by earlier on the way to another customer and just couldn’t resist looking at the dessert menu…our powers of deduction brought us to the conclusion that the dessert in question was a hot fudge sundae with macaroons and honeycomb pieces…

The fullness we’d felt moments earlier disappeared as we tucked into the layers of creamy, smooth ice cream, hot, rich chocolate sauce, chewy but crunchy macaroons all topped off with nuggets of honeycomb. I think a quote from Belinda Carlisle would sum it up for me perfectly ‘Ooh heaven is a place on earth’! Heaven, right then and there, was a hot choc fudge sundae in The Riding House Cafe!

I highly recommend you visit…just make sure you’re hungry and leave your diet at the door! I’m going to have to visit again to work my way through all the items on the menu that I didn’t get a chance to try first time round…it’s a tough job but hey, someone’s got to do it!

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