The Riding House Café
43-51 Great Titchfield St Fitzrovia, London W1W 7PQ
One of the bucket-list dishes for my trip to the UK was the classic beef wellington, something that I’ve wanted to eat ever since I first came across its existence amongst Gordon Ramsey’s many recipes. The idea of a beautifully tender fillet of beef encased in a mushroom paste and flaky puff pastry evoked such a feeling of extreme comfort and decadence that I knew I had to try it for myself. My research yielded a handful of potential restaurants, from the very expensive to the somewhat dodgy, so K and I finally settled on The Riding House Café, a nice restaurant/café that fell somewhere in the middle of the pack.
As you can tell from the photos, the beef was cooked to a nice medium rare, which the mushroom pate around it intensified its amazing umami flavour. However, while the pastry was lovely and golden, I don’t think it was quite as buttery and flaky as I expected – it reminded me more of pie crust than puff pastry.
Again, K’s lamb chops were well cooked but I felt the quality of the meat itself was lacking – there was quite a lot of fat and grizzle that had to be left over on the plate. The peppers added a lovely sweetness to the dish though, and I personally really enjoyed the aubergine puree.
Poutine is a Canadian dish that is made from fries that are topped with gravy and cheese curds, which, in theory sounds amazingly decadent and delicious. In this case, I found the fries to be very soggy which was a let-down but the addition of little pieces of jalapenos was fantastic.
Overall, I was very happy to have tried a good quality beef wellington dish, but I’m unsure of whether it’s quite worth the hype or the price tag. The Riding House Café was amongst the more affordable options available in London, yet I don’t know whether I’d be willing to pay over AUD$50 for such a dish again. The rest of the food was similarly tasty, but nothing exciting – a once-off experience for me I think.