Riding House Bloomsbury new restaurant Adam White

What:An all-day buzzing spot in Bloomsbury’s Brunswick Center that’s a follow-on – of sorts – to the influential Fitzrovia Riding House Café. Riding House Bloomsbury occupies the space that once housed Carluccio’s at the front of one of London’s most infamous Brutalist buildings (fans of modernist architecture consider it a masterpiece, many others think it’s anything but that).

Who:Adam White, New Zealand-born restaurateur.White is notable for being among the first to really take advantage of the all-day dining opportunity in the capital with venues such as Garrison and Village East (both in Bermondsey). Its current portfolio includes Fitzrovia’s Riding House Café and Victoria’s Rail House Café which opened in 2011 and 2017 respectively. Although by no means a copy and paste work, Riding House Bloomsbury is presented as the sequel to the first. Its menu is overseen by House Café Company executive chef Henry Omereye and Riding House Bloomsbury chef Gerald Mirey, who joined the Riding House family after serving as chef at The Garrison.

The atmosphere:​ With a degree in industrial design, White certainly knows how to put a restaurant together. The interior of Riding House Bloomsbury was designed as a counterpoint to the hard lines of the Brunswick Centers with design details including an open bar and kitchen, heavy wooden doors of a Mayfair private club, lots of greenery and a irreverent mural of a giraffe.

The food:The cuisine at Riding House Bloomsbury is accurately described as “international, contemporary and uncomplicated”. Menus are inspired by the travels of Omereye and Mirey and include caraway harissa chicken and cassava crisps with fennel and cardamom sauce; teriyaki rabbit feet, shiitake mushroom, sweet potato champion and crispy kale; and grilled sea bass with miso, nuoc cham and pickled cucumber. In common with the other two White’s House Café Company locations, breakfast is a big deal. Dishes include pea fritters, oak-smoked salmon, and asparagus; and a green tomato shakshuka. There’s also a dedicated Malted Deep Dish pancake menu, with options like Dingley Dell Bacon, Blueberry Compote, Sour Cream, and Maple Syrup.

To drink:Overseen by Ned and Hix restaurant alumnus Harry Hughes, the beverage program is all about cocktails. Large casks of pre-mixed house aged cocktails – including Negroni and a rum-based Manhattan – take pride of place and a number of new dishes have been developed for the launch, including Piña Picante (tequila infused with pineapple skins and chilli, shaken with citrus and sweetened with agave).

And something else:White has precedents for real estate that divides architecture. The Riding House Café sits beneath an impossibly unattractive 1950s building and the Rail House Café is at the heart of Victoria’s Nova development, winner of the Carbuncle Cup booby architectural award.

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Raymond I. Langston