The Riding House Café is the third project by the team behind Village East and The Garrison. We went on its official first day of opening. (Btw, 50% off food bill till May 2, 2011!)

It was an interesting cross between a bar, a pub and a restaurant.
This concept can be observed from the layout of the space as well as on the menu. On the left of the entrance is the restaurant (photo below), with the bar (2nd photo), wooden seating (like a pub) and a big shared dining area on the right.

Restaurant at the Riding House Cafe
Bar at at The Riding House Cafe
The menu was created to allow flexible ordering. Instead of the usual ‘starters’, we were presented with a selection of 17 small plates, which cost £3, £4 or £5, to choose from. I can imagine this is fantastic for customers at the pub, bar food to munch on with a glass of drink.

Since it is oyster season, we ordered 8 Carlingford Rock Oysters. They were fine but nothing remarkable.

Carlingford Rock Oysters at The Riding House Cafe
We ordered 4 dishes from the Small Plates menu, following the waiter’s recommendation. They were well cooked, but nothing remarkable either. Here is what we had:

Slow Roasted Pork Belly at The Riding House Cafe
Slow Roasted Pork Belly (photo above)- The skin was crispy but a little thick. The meat was tender. I prefer the one at Nopi by Ottolenghi  more.

Sea Bass Ceviche with Lime ane Chilli at The Riding House Cafe
Sea Bass Ceviche with Lime ane Chilli (photo above)- The presentation looked a little odd. It tasted a little blend. Forgettable.

Chermoula Spiced Poussin with Jalapeno and Lemon at The Riding House Cafe
Chermoula Spiced Poussin with Jalapeno and Lemon (photo above)- I am a great fan of Poussin but this was not one I would remember. I could taste all the individual flavours but there was no sparkle.

Drinking/ dining area at The Riding House Cafe
Even though the starter round was a little disappointing, we enjoyed our cocktail very much. I had Fitzroy, which was Wyborowa vodka, elderflower cordial with Devaux Grande Reserve NV. It was light, refreshing and charming. I tried one of my friends’ Ramos Gin Fizz (Beefeater gin, orange blossom water, egg white, lemon, lime, cream and vanilla sugar). It was soothing and happy.

The Riding House Cafe has a good selection of wine on offer. We ordered Malbec, Argentina (£32) to go with our main course. It had a good body and was not too dry. We ordered mostly beef- Chateaubriand and Rib Eye on the bone . It was succulent but not as good as Goodman.

Chateaubriand
Chateaubriand at The Riding House Cafe
10oz Rib Eye on the Bone

10oz Rib Eye on the Bone at The Riding House Cafe
We also tried Rack of Pork with chorizo and lentil (photo below). It was decent but not as spectacular as the Black Foot Pork Chop at Dinner by Heston Blumental.

Rack of Pork at The Riding House Cafe
Luckily the desserts were far more interesting. We had Rhubarb & Raspberry Fool (photo below). It was beautifully presented and refreshing. It was like a breeze.

Rhubarb & Raspberry Fool at The Riding House Cafe
The Red Plum & Pear Crumble was designed to be shared by two. It was a big portion! I enjoyed the chunky plum and pear hidden under the coarse crumble. It was served with warm custard and vanilla ice-cream. I preferred the latter as it was lighter and it worked better in terms of bringing out the flavour of the crumble.

Red Plum & Pear Crumble at The Riding House Cafe
My favourite dessert of the night, however, was Chocolate Praline Semi Freddo. It tasted like a cross between chocolate  mousse and ice-cream. The light sourness of the raspberry sauce gave it a little kick. Yum!

Chocolate Praline Semi Freddo at The Riding House Cafe

As usual, I ordered fresh mint tea. When it arrived, I discovered that it was actually dried peppermint tea leaves in hot water! I was surprised that the waiter did not tell me they were to serve me this. Oh well, it was better than peppermint tea bag which I cannot stand. But still!

Toilet at The Riding House Cafe
I could not help but check out the toilet. It was kind of hidden at the far end of the bar. I had to elbow my way through in order to find it. Strange layout. It had an interesting rustic design. Though the designer was probably a tall person as opposed to petite like me, I could only see the top of my head in the mirror!

In all, we had a nice time a the Riding House Cafe. Though it was to do with the company, the environment and the drinks, rather than the food. I doubt that I would enjoyed it as much if we had sat on the bar/dining side as it was very noisy.

The Riding Horse House Cafe
£163 including 4 cocktails, a bottle of wine and service charge (with 50% discount on food)
43-51 Great Titchfield St
London W1W 7PQ

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