Anyway, it was a nice casual day. I had just flown into London so all I needed was a nice welcome greeting from the London food scene. It was Saturday and the sun was still out so I thought to myself "why not brunch?"
I went on a nice walk from chaotic Oxford Circus to calm Thitchfield road and before I knew it I was in the restuarant waiting for FK to arrive. Unfortunately she was running late so I had a lot of time to observe the restuarant decor and the people around me which is always fun to do.
The restuarant ambience was very lively and had just the right level of background noise. Not so loud that you have to talk over other people and not to so quiet that you're dying for some background music. The restaurant atmosphere is also dynamic in the sense that it suits different occasions. I could tell because there were groups of all kinds: couples, families, small friend groups and large friend groups.
Time flew by and FK arrived so it was time to eat! I ordered quickly as I had so much time to study the menu. I decided to start with the small Lobster Benedict. I couldn't help my self; it was the first time I had seen this on a menu. This starter was pleasant but, with faults. I liked how much better the dish tasted with lobster compared to traditionally putting ham. Also, the egg yolk gloriously poured onto the plate as I cut through the poached egg which is something I always look for. Although it was for the most part a nice dish, it was too cold. I believe this was the main downfall of this dish. It would have been better if it was just a bit warmer. There's just something about cold hollandaise sauce and eggs that makes me squirm. In summary, the flavours were there but the conditions weren't optimal for the flavours' execution.
Next thing I had was the grilled quail with sweet potato mash. This was aesthetically pleasing but again, it was slightly cold! Apart from this annoying fault, the quail had the strong grill taste which I enjoyed chowing down. However, there wasn't much to chow down as there was hardly any quail meat! The sweet potato mash had an odd flavour that I neither liked nor disliked. Overall, this dish wasn't memorable, it just looked pretty.
I finished my meal with the infamous pancakes. When they arrived, I was shocked. These pancakes were the thickest pancakes that I had ever laid my eyes on! This isn't a bad thing though- as long as they're fluffy, I'm good. I wasn't disappointed; the pancakes were warm, fluffy and sweet. The only problem I had was how overwhelmingly mushy the pancakes could feel in my mouth at times. Apart from that, they were absolutely fantastic.
To sum it all up, the riding house cafe is a nice place to have a causal meal. I also think it makes for an excellent shopping-break destination. The dishes are reasonably priced as everything came down to £36 pp including drinks and service. However, if you're looking for a top-quality culinary experience, I wouldn't say this place fits the bill.
I would also recommend heading to Kaffeine afterwards to finish off your meal. It is a coffee shop selling excellent coffee and snacks.
PS: there are squirrel lamps everywhere!