Riding House Cafe, Fitzrovia

Riding House Cafe Fitzrovia
Waiters mimic the décor; charming and a little bit alternative

The Vibe

Whilst the walk–in dining section is all bright, rustic interiors, with touches of brass and turquoise chairs, the reserved seating at the back is red comfy banquettes, with warmer lighting and seductive corner tables. The Riding House Cafe design is oh so distressed chic, with wonky candlesticks, a large communal wooden table dominating the main room, touches of brass and a parquet floor. The stuffed squirrels scrambling up the light fixtures also show that, unlike the Lower East Side restaurants it resembles, the place has a sense of humour. The waiters are like the décor; charming, beautiful and, pairing their crisp uniforms with dreadlocks and piercings, a little bit alternative.

The Order

It’s known for its small plates but their steak béarnaise is perfection, served solo with a grilled tomato. My recommendation would be to start with three small plates (they really are ‘delicate’ though) and then move onto the chateaubriand for two (£42), with a simple chopped salad on the side. Best small plate is the Moorish Lamb with smoked aubergine, total heaven.

The Game

Make a reservation and ask for one of the corner tables. As there is so much to choose from, take the lead on the ordering, to avoid 20 minutes of infuriating scanning. Ask her/him if there is anything in particular they like, then go forth and order. Let your date pick the wine. Don’t dress up too much, think Parisian chic. Definitely order dessert, something juvenile like the fudge sundae. If it’s going well, decline coffee and go across the road to Kaffeine to sober up and reflect on a delightful experience.

The Faults

Nothing (except perhaps being overly charmed by the waiters. Especially the French one, mon dieu).

Sex Factor

2, even if it doesn’t happen that night, the kudos alone will see you through to the next date which will be in a bar not a restaurant, late, dark and debauched.

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