What: An enormous and slick ‘modern café’ in Victoria’s Nova development that’s hoping to prove there’s more to transport hub dining than a grab bag of prawn cocktail crisps.
Who: It’s the latest project from Adam White, founder of Village London Central which comprises The Riding House Café in Fitzrovia and Village East in Bermondsey.
The vibe: Rail House Café is a beautifully designed restaurant that makes you forget you’re dining in a big glass box. The 330-cover space takes most of its design cues from the Colonial era and aims to recreate the buzz of a bustling metropolitan station. Elements of the design - including the corrugated iron ceiling - have a weathered feel but White and Box 9 Design’s Lou Davies have eschewed the half finished, stripped back look. Rail House Café is a masterclass in blow-the-budget, modern restaurant design.
The menu: The food offer is wide ranging and global ticking off some key mainstream trends including grain-based salads, healthy smoothies, raw food and avocados by the crate full. It’s pricey: a 24-hour cooked lamb shoulder with five spice, aubergine miso and black curry costs £24.50 and a cheeseburger with no fries is £14. With a lot of lower priced, more casual players in the immediate vicinity including, Shake Shack, this premium positioning makes sense. There’s also a creative breakfast menu that includes ‘ham and eggs’ (glazed T-bone pork steak served with a fried egg and sauteed potoes; and shakshuka.
And another thing: Be sure to check out the loos. As the toilet taxidermy at The Riding House Café attests, White takes the design of the facilities very seriously. With its perfect tiling and carefully sourced fixtures and fittings, Rail House Café is no exception.