Breakfast reviews are my favourites to do – especially when the meal takes place on a Sunday. Call me old fashion or perhaps I’m just prepping for family life; Italian eggs, iced New York coffee and my favourite copy of the Sunday Times. Come on son, let’s grab some grub.
There are a few Raoul’s Cafes around town: one in Notting Hill Gate, but I was at the Maida Vale one. Quite separately, they also have deli grocery shops, and there is one just across the road from their café at Maide Vale. I’ve wanted to eat breakfast here for a while now, it is almost always full up by 11am. It always smells so good, and the café always looks so lively inside – with so many smiles and so much chatter, the food must be at least half good, that or herd mentality. We sat at the very end of the restaurant, under a translucent skylight shining cloudy rays onto our table. It was pleasant, although, it felt a little like Sleepless in Seattle (I was there with a girl), with Bennett/Sinatra tunes squeaking from the stereo, for some reason, I kept hearing the words Staten Island.. Staten Island; its 1985 all over again.
Breakfast is served till 6pm (kind of ironic really) in the restaurant which advertises Mediterranean food, although I didn’t pay much attention to the culinary school of thought they have elected to adhere to. The menu feature the usual suspects, benedicts, croque monsieurs, full English and a selection of familiar sounding sandwiches. Oh but they do serve Fritatas, how very quaint, and iced New York Coffee.
Yeah sounds like I’m going for the ice new york coffee. My waitress kept replying ‘milkshake’ when I said ‘iced coffee’ to her, after a couple of repetitions, I realised that the iced coffee was in fact espresso with dollops of ice and ice cream. It had the right amount of ice cream to make my brain freeze.
A good thing, I assure myself.
Eggs Benedicts with Ham (£8)
I love benedicts by the way, and if you track back to my previous posts, you’ll notice I write about my breakfast quite abit. For me, a good Benedict starts with the chef’s skill in balancing the natural sourness of the hollandaise sauce. I prefer a thick sauce, and Raoul’s version was just a little on the thin and runny side for me. Taste wise, the sauce was a sourcream and a slight custard flavour. Unique, it went well with the cooked ham and the softly crusty toasted muffins. Here’s where things get very interesting: The paprika coloured egg yolks.
And there’s a picture of it, Paprika coloured, right (Bleh, feel free to comment on this) ? The colour was so striking and i was intrigued with it. My first impression was that they were duck eggs, and then I thought that maybe they’ve been in the fridge for abit too long. I decided to tap into the wisdom of the waitress.
I couldn’t work out if the waiting staff here were an arrogantly dismissive lot or if they were just laid back. They seem perturbed when I raised my hand to ask them a question (why I raised my hand, I don’t know). One of them gave me the sort of glaring look from the corner of their eyes, you know what I mean right, that ‘What do you want little man?’ (think opening prison fight scene from Batman Begins) look. Contrary to popular belief, I do experience surly service from time to time. But I must emphasise that I can indeed speaka da English, sometimes. Hi Five. Anyway, eventually, she did tell me that they were eggs from Italy. I was adamant. “Eggs from chickens?”. Hi five.
The eggs were interesting. I must admit, the mere difference in colour alone made me pay attention to its flavour, and I am convinced that it tasted different to British eggs. There was a chalkiness to the texture of the yolk, a distinctive tea biscuit sweetness, I was also getting abit of soya flavour and a hint of sourness (probably from the hollandaise). In its entirety, the Benedict encompassed flavours from both ends of the spectrum, and the middlepoint where the sourness and the saltiness met, produced a subtle richness, the eggs were the difference for me, I am still convinced that they brought a certain quality to the dish.
Golden Yolks, in frittatas.
Don’t you just love a buzzing café.? Ahh… So I have this grand idea about frittatas and have this (very wrong) impression of the dish being served in golf clubs with fat membership fees, that cater to successful self-styled businessmen, relaxing in far fetched exotic places, like Brunei for example, where luxury and even more luxury await.
Oh, I do digress. Fritatas, spring onion and chorizo. (£8?)
We opted for the chorizo and spring onion filled fried eggs and they were very good indeed. The eggy pancake also uses Italian eggs, and as you cut into it, the rich yolk gently oozed out from the centre, what luxury indeed. The frittata had intense flavour, perhaps due in most part to the chorizo. A rather simple dish that was effortless to huff down, I love it when simple dishes work.
Join the breakfast club today
I also ordered a third dish in the traditional club sandwich. Perhaps just abit too traditional, that it looked like something I could throw together. Measly pieces of turkey and bacon, I’ll give them the freshly whipped mayonnaise but that’s where the admiration ends. A totally forgettable sandwich, in my opinion.
Before I go showering Raoul’s with praise, I have to say that they serve horrendous mochas. Watered down, powdery and so devoid of coffee, it was utterly bland. But if you can overlook the mochatrocities, then those Italian eggs are a real winner, it is distinctive, and I’ll admit that it’s the first time I’ve ever had Italian eggs and psychological or otherwise, it added to the experience. Good benedicts, could do with better coffee and 80s style easy music. Fly me to Raouls anytime, Tony.
PS: We paid £33 for this meal.
The Gist of It
Raoul’s Cafe official site
13 Clifton Road W9 1SZ
+44 (0) 207 289 7313
About £12pp for breakfast