Riding House Café, is not really a café at all but an upmarket chic restaurant. Noisy and bustling. Far too many staff and not enough attentiveness. Service overall is inconsistent, reserved and unfriendly at the best of times. There are so many staff that they forget the simplest of things. Like sugar with your coffee if it’s not on the table. Repeating an order when placing it on the table….. the special kind of order that is, like ‘weak soya latte’, non-diary dishes etc. Not coming to your table and making sure everything is ok, or too many different waiters coming to your table and asking if everything is ok. There is no visible organization or structure to the service side at all. I’ve never seen a supervisor, manager or matre’d take charge, direct staff or even make an appearance. If there’s one there, they do a good job of camouflaging themselves. And I’ve made it a point to look around and observe the staff and service every time I go there. I’m never impressed with the service.
Although I do love the waiters uniforms. Now Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay should take a look at these uniforms. Professional, savvy and clean cut. Oh what a design! Must have been designed by the same people who designed the restaurant. They know style when they see it. The places oozes with it. The only uniforms which just don’t fit in at all are the hostess’s uniforms. Obviously these aren’t uniforms at all but their own clothes. And some are tacky to say the least. A shame really, spoils the whole effect.
Peter and I have been there quite a few times and you may be asking what on earth makes us keep going back, well besides the fact that most times we wait at least 15min for a coffee, its damn good coffee! Silky, creamy and smooth although unfortunately not always hot … .sometimes it comes out luke warm so back it goes to get re-done.
We love going to Riding House Café because the atmosphere is quiet amazing. Beautiful décor, soothing colours, spectacular attention to detail in the interior design department. A pleasure to sit in there and look around, taking it all in and just relaxing.
The kitchen is slightly exposed, a very very long reclaimed wooden table is in the centre of the restaurant. Lounge chairs on one end of the restaurant next to the frosted glass windows and another room where you can dine more formally on the other end of the restaurant. Wood mounted panels, turquoise leather seats with brass buttons are in the bar area and bright red leather seats in the dining room area. Simple yet stunning. Complimentary water is served in bubble shaped turquoise drinking glasses as soon as you sit down Whoever designed this restaurant did an excellent job! I want to take their services and do up my next pad!
The bar at the back is long, sauvé and chic. You have the choice to eat at the bar if you so desire and watch the bar waiters shake & make their drinks or in the evenings a chef making some cold seafood dishes. Quite interesting and entertaining.
Now for the food. Well the food is definitely not a disappointment. The breakfast part at least. We usually do Sunday morning breakfast but have been known to do spot walk in’s for dinner. Breakfast is fresh, wholesome and delicious. I usually have poached eggs on thick wholemeal toast. The egg yolks are runny and perfectly cooked. Pete normally has the ‘Orkney bacon sandwich’ - bacon, avocado & tomato in thick white, soughdour bread which looks like it was made in-house. Even though its white bread and I normally don’t eat white bread I had to have a taste and boy this bread was out of this world. Probably the best sandwich bread that I’ve ever tasted. Suffice to say, this beauty is Pete’s Achilles heel. The combination suites him to a tea.
For dinner I’ve had the ‘Smoked Haddock Kedgeree’ and Pete had the ‘Oysters’ for entrée and ‘Cheese Burger’ for main. Unfortunately my Kedgeree was far too salty, what a disappointment. I was drinking water all night just to rehydrate myself and Pete enjoyed both his dishes although nothing memorable on his part. So overall dinner wasn’t a success but breakfast has always been a success, except for the service that is….
Would I keep on going back? Yes, I would but not as eagerly and certainly not as regularly as I used to. The service has put me off that much and dinner was a disappointment. What a shame as I would have been one of their biggest regulars.
I thought I should add, that I went once again on Sunday with an Aunt from Greece and Pete. Amazingly for the first time, service was spot on. Attentive, professional and on time. I had a weak soya decaf, mmmm deliciously creamy and Pete and his aunt had the Pancakes with Clotted cream & Maple syrup. His aunty claimed that they have to have been the best pancakes she’s ever had. And she’s definitely had a few in her life… especially coming from Greece where they love their pancakes. I’m happy Riding House Cafe has left this lovely memory for her. Here’s a picture of the pancakes.
The Riding House Café
43-51 Great Titchfield St