£13.90. The Titchfield Burger includes a layer of foie gras and red onion marmalade. The burger itself, alas, is a bit of a meatball...
The third venture from the team behind Village East
and The Garrison
, The Riding House Café
is a new café / restaurant / bar on the corner of Riding House Street and Great Titchfield Street which opened about a month ago. The interior is kind of New York warehouse meets Shoreditch House - in a good way. It's actually pretty cool and despite looking like a swanky members club, the friendly and attentive staff make it feel really relaxed...
The ground floor restaurant is divided into two areas, a large bar area (above) and a slightly more formal dining area where me and my burger buddy sat – in a wood panelled corner with orange banquette seating and some stuffed squirrel wall lamps.
The menu offers two burgers, a self-explanatory Cheese Burger, served with smoked cheddar, and a Titchfield Burger. Both are served de rigeur on wooden boards. Here's my Titchfield Burger with its lid off so you can see the thin slice of foie gras sat atop the meat patty:
Actually, the foie gras sits on a bed of red onion marmalade on top of the burger patty which, in turn sits on a slice of tomato. The bread looked like a total disaster, but actually turned out to be rather good. An über light, fresh-baked seeded focaccia. This cross section shot shows how aerated it is:
The cut-through too shows the creamy texture and colour of the foie gras and the wonderful colour of the onion jam but also suggests that the patty itself is lacking in texture. Taking a bite confirmed the burger to have a taste and texture that sits somewhere between a meatball and a bolognese sauce. It's mincey and mulchy and I can only imagine that too fine a grind and much handling of the patty, very probably with some breadcrumbs and egg in the blend, is to blame for this. Bit of a shame really.
The Cheese Burger (£9.60) features exactly the same meat patty as the Titchfield Burger with a nicely melted cheese blanket topped with a homemade tomato chutney and a splat of mayo.
Texture of the Riding House Café's burger patty aside, the burgers are undoubtedly tasty. The ingredients are all tip top and the balance of flavours is good. Plus the service in the Riding House Café is impressive. I will definitely revisit, but I'm not sure I'd have a burger next time. The menu boasts a selection of "small plates" of dishes such as Salt Cod Fritters, Atlantic Prawns, Moorish Lamb on Aubergine Purée – all of which offer pleasant enough tapas style grazing options.
Food-wise, don't expect anything mind-blowingly special, but do check out the vibe if you're in the area. As far as I'm concerned, the arrival of this kind of warehouse-chic bar and eatery in this part of town is a very welcome one.
43-51 Great Titchfield Street
Mon-Fri: 8am to 11pm
Sat & Sun: 9am to 11pm