I recently turned an age where you stop organising all night boozy birthday drinks and start asking friends to a more civilised birthday brunch instead. To celebrate this joyous occasion I booked the buzzy Riding House Cafe for a Sunday brunch.
When we arrived, it was super packed, so we were glad to have made reservations. We were immediately seated at a nice corner table towards the rear of the restaurant.
The cafe interiors, designed by Box 9 Design are fresh, light and airy – very contemporary and perfect for casual weekend brunches. There are wooden tables, herringbone flooring, bare brick ceilings, plush leather banquettes in deep orange and red and bar stools made of mohair and leather in blue hues with contrast piping. If you looked up, there were also examples of taxidermy on their wood-panelled walls.
We kicked off with some sharing plates. We ordered the treacle-cured salmon with lemon grass and chilli (£7.50), slow-roasted pork belly with cumin salt (£7.50), Sriracha chicken wings with blue cheese dip (£6.50) and Poutine (£4.50).
All the food was delicious but the clear favourites were the chicken wings and the poutine, both of which were ordered twice. The fiery chicken wings with lashings of Sriracha went gloriously well with the creamy dip which had a mellow sharpness from the blue cheese.
The poutine was a winner hands down with its chips moist from the savoury gravy but still crunchy-edged, the salty cheese curds and the tangy jalapeños.
I personally thought that the sweet, sticky pork belly and the salty crackling was beautifully cooked and would definitely order those again.
All of us were looking forward to ordering the Lobster Benedict for our mains. Unfortunately, it was unavailable on that day. Slightly disappointed, we ordered the Eggs Royale (£11.50) and Eggs Benedict (£11.00). Both dishes were refined with the use of some good-quality smoked salmon and ham, and one of the tastiest hollandaise sauces we had ever tasted. However, it did dampen our spirits slightly that we did not get the lobster as this was a special occasion.
Throughout the afternoon, the staff were polite but the service was slightly lacking in attention. They should definitely iron out the service on busy weekends like these as most of the staff looked stretched and preoccupied with us having to prompt them a couple of times.
However to end things on a sweet and more uplifting note, my friends ordered me a slice of my favourite cake – Red Velvet. It was an indulgent slice with creamy cheese frosting over a moist ruby red sponge. The staff scribbled ‘Happy Birthday’ on the plate – a gesture which was appreciated.
All in all, I think (barring the unfortunate incident of the lobster) we all had a reasonably good time at The Riding House Cafe. The food here doesn’t disappoint and the prices are reasonable. I would recommend RHC as a decent place for a weekend brunch date if you happen to find yourself in Fitzrovia or to escape the madness of Oxford Circus.
More information can be found here.
N.B. All opinions and views expressed in this blogpost are my own. The photographs used have been taken by me. I review anonymously and pay for my meals.