Do you guys remember when brunch suddenly became the thing to do instead of brekkie/lunch dates? A number of antipodean cafes became prominent with their all-day petit dejeuner menus and their Brit counterparts started grasping the concept of serving small sharing plates from mid-morning til late arvo. It’s become a well-embraced social affair as people get to sleep in longer before getting a hangover cure that’s more exciting than a typical fry-up and definitely more substantial than the sorry kebab one forgot to finish after last night’s revelry.
RHC is an “all-day brasserie” with intense queues and menus that has everything for everyone. Eggs? Check. Porridge? Superfood? Check. Pork Belly? Check. Sunday roast? Check. Something small? Yep. Something massive? Oui.
I’ve not been back for yonks as I try to avoid hectic Oxford Street like the plague. But a few Sundays back, Central London looked as apocalyptic as a scene from The Walking Dead so a friend and I decided to hit RHC thinking we’d get in straight. Turns out, it was the Terminus of choice; we still had to queue and the presumed 30-minute wait stretched to just over a full hour.
Once in, we requested to sit and dine by the bar (which I think is the most underrated space in any restaurant). Tempted as we are to hit up something stiff, we bunked and went for healthy juices: green jersey (kale, apple, kiwi, lime & ginger) and ABC (the ultimate detoxifying combo of apple, beetroot, carrot & ginger) for £4.50 each.
RHC’s reuben sandwich (£10.50) is quite a popular choice for Sunday brunch. Served with chips the sarnie is filled with salt beef, sauerkraut, Emmental, gherkin, and a generous blob of thousand island dressing. It’s not as great as Mishkin’s but it’s definitely a good hangover cure.
The salt beef croquettes (£7) with spicy mayo looked standard. I feared it was quite redundant to get the reuben and these bad boys but fortunately (or unfortunately) this wasn’t too salty. The potato filling was rather creamy and though it was quite filling, it was very moreish.
The squid & chorizo salad (£8.5) came with a rather intriguing bright yellow sauce but it was delicious. There was quite a lot of squid and meat so the small portion was quite filling, too. The sauce was rather punchy and it gave the salad a nice balance of flavours.
I wasn’t too keen on the Moorish lamb (£7) which came on a bed of baba ganoush. The flavours were classic, but the meat was slightly on the tough side.
RHC is still a crowdpleaser – a jack-of-all-trades if you wish. The ambience and vibe is definitely relaxed enough to bring anyone from anywhere and the varied menu means there’s something for everyone at any given time. Service can be improved (front of house seemed frazzled with the queues when we visited) but overall it’s a safe brunch spot for foodies and picky eaters alike.
The Riding House Cafe
43-51 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7PQ
Ave spend pp: £30