The riding house café is one of the West End worst kept breakfast secrets. You will find it on most of the lists for “top brunches in London”, so I thought it was high time that I tested it out!
Located north of busy Oxford street, on the corner of Great Titchfield street and Little Titchfield street, don’t expect a safe haven from the crowds because when we arrived at about 11am on Saturday, it was packed! In fact, we booked a table a couple of weeks in advance (for 6), in order to get in.
The décor is interesting; a mix of classic French brasserie and modern distressed panelling. Rickety old chairs sit alongside plush dining chairs (I was pleased we had a table with the comfy looking sort!). It is heavily stylized, everything has been thought about. Even the Dyson hand dryer in the toilets is cased in a beaten metal, to keep the theme running throughout. The service was good; relaxed and not rushed, despite it being very busy. The coffee was strong and hot, the way it should be.
The breakfast menu is extensive, from Kedgeree to pancakes, but the most importantly incudes “The full and proper breakfast” (£10.50). And what that means is two fried eggs, on white toast, a sausage, streaky bacon, black pudding, mushroom, tomato and baked beans. Nicely presented, on a plate that was basically a ceramic frying pan, all the ingredients are there to make this a top fry-up. And in parts it was, the black pudding was delicious, slightly laced with chilli, it was just a shame there was so little of it on the plate. The bacon and eggs were fine, without being outstanding. It was great to have a breakfast with beans on, but why I only got a thimble full is beyond me. The sausage wasn’t really up to scratch; it was quite dry as if it had been sitting about for a while and tasted rather bland.