Just north of Oxford Circus, on the corner of Great Titchfield St and Riding House St, is the Riding House Café. This has been on my ‘to try’ list for a little while now, but we’ve really struggled to get a table. I hate it when this happens (yeah, I’m looking at YOU Chiltern Firehouse); my food envy becomes uncontrollable; I get all “who are these people?? How dare they serve delicious food that I can’t have??” and basically just sulk.
Luckily, just before I entered the final stage of my food envy journey (“well, I didn’t want to eat there anyway…”) Sophie got us a table por trois. She’s a hero, that one. And always right about everything, I’m told, including the fact that organic wine doesn’t give you hangovers (yep).
When Saturday rolled around I was super excited about our lunch date! We didn’t bother with starters but opted to share some of the smaller plates as a main course (menus are here). We chose crispy pork belly, peppered striploin, chicken wings, beetroot salad, truffled potato salad and courgettes (to share between two). It sounds like a lot of food, but it was pretty much bang on the right amount AND I managed a cheeky pudding. Perfect!
The crispy pork belly (Lucy’s favourite) was lovely; soft, melty meat and crackling hard enough to put your fillings in danger biting into it. The striploin (my favourite) was beautifully rare and wrapped around celery and a really subtle wasabi mayo which was so thick it was more the texture of cream cheese. Absolutely delicious. The chicken wings were also pretty good, but perhaps a little on the small side, though they more than made up for this in stickiness.
The beetroot was yellow beetroot – is it really weird that I find that quite exciting? I loved it anyway, and not just because I am obsessed with beetroot (is it that that’s really weird?). The courgettes were cooked perfectly but they did NOT go easy on the garlic so make sure everyone else in your party has a taste or they will regret it for the rest of the evening…
So far, so good… BUT the real hero of the meal was pudding. More specifically, the cinnamon doughnuts. Surprisingly light balls of fried amazingness, coated with cinnamon sugar, with a delicate splodge of vanilla custard hiding in the middle (sneaky) and served with milk and white chocolate sauce so thick you could stand a spoon in it. OHMYGOD. I was in heaven! We had the a hot fudge sundae too (to share! Don’t judge!) and that was also lovely but honestly it just paled in comparison to the doughnuts. If it was easier to get a damn table here this would become my Pudding Bar (RIP) substitution.