Anna Dack found herself feasting in Victoria at the Cambridge Street Café.
There are a few parts of London that you simply do not want to find yourself hungry in, and that little stretch of ground between Victoria and Pimlico tube stations is definitely one of them. An area diverse in its offering, you stand split between Chelsea-style guest houses, unnamed fast-food corner shops and rogue market stalls contemplating where on earth you’re going to find a decent meal. However, stumble a few yards off the beaten track and you just may find something special in Cambridge Street Café.
A boutique new restaurant at the base of the Artist Residence Hotel, Cambridge Street Café takes the place of 64 Degrees, created by owners Charlie Newey and Justin Salisbury. It mingles the bustle and slickness of a quaint West London Hotel, with a seasonal English menu and a dining room cunningly designed (distressed wooden panelling, tartan seating, pop-art wall displays) for that modern media-type feel.
With a kitchen headed up by Radek Nitkowski, previously of Dean Street Townhouse, it’s also no surprise that all of the voguish beauty at Cambridge Street Café is transferred onto the plates. They throb with flavour, using market produce flamboyantly to compile a menu of great choice and substance.
To start, the Beetroot Salad (£7) comes scattered with soft goats curd and nestled amongst thinly peeled strips of cucumber. Drizzled in a tangy orange dressing the plate appears gloriously bright, crafting together complimentary flavours in a slouching purple landslide. The Hot Smoked Salmon starter (£8) is equally delicious, coming on a bed of crispy endive and dolloped with a sour lemon dressing.
Amongst the mains, the Soft Shell Crab Burger (£16) was an enviable choice, regularly admired by neighbouring diners. Coming miraculously crunchy around the claws and delicately soft in the middle, the dish was perfectly presented resting on a bed of crunchy kale and anointed with the zing of lime mayonnaise. The Lamb Bolognaise (£18) is yet another fantastic choice, with soft black olives, juicy ripe tomatoes and splashes of pecorino cheese making every bite of this tagliatelle taste like a new dish.
Complimented by an array of sides such as triple cooked chips, Charred cauliflower and minted new potatoes (£4 each), these savoury dishes tell you how carefully (and recently) these chefs have done their shopping, with the freshness and earthy tones of each meal being evidently clear.
Desserts round off proceedings well, all presented with an emphasis on fruity flavours to refresh the palate. The elderflower posset (£6) is indulgently sticky and sweet, complimented by a crunchy shortbread perfect for dunking, and decorated with fresh raspberries (£6). For something heavier, the Jaffa chocolate torte (although comes nothing like a conventional torte), is soft and cakey and layered with orange marmalade (£7).
Overall, Cambridge Street Café is a restaurant certainly worth investigating, in an area where there isn’t much to investigate at all. Whether you need a solid lunch spot near the office, a place to escape city life, or somewhere to secretly indulge, we recommend you keep this hidden gem in your back pocket.
Words Anna Dack – a freelance food writer with a healthy appetite and hungry desire to explore London’s fastest and finest. For more follow @Dackery