The Riding House Cafe sports a style I can only describe as gentlemen's club chic, all distressed leather and dark wooden panelling - but with huge windows letting in plenty of light the overall effect is far from dreary, and it's a lovely place to catch up over a meal or drinks.
The cafe has a good breakfast menu, offering classic savoury dishes (eggs Benedict/Florentine/Royale; bacon and avacado sarnies; kedgeree) alongside a selection of sweets and bakery items (buttermilk pancakes; mini Danishes) and a decent variety of healthier options (home-made muesli; chilled grapefruit). There are also one or two more unusual dishes: Eggs Hussard, served with ox heart tomato, ham, spinach, and bordelaise* and hollandaise sauces sounded particularly intriguing, while Omelette Arnold Bennett** - sadly only available Monday to Friday - has been on my to-try list for a while.
My friend went for the traditional smoked salmon and scrambled egg combo, which was apparently very good. Meanwhile, I opted for the strawberry and pear parfait. Presented prettily in a glass tumbler, this tasty (but healthy) treat featured juicy chunks of poached pear layered with thick Greek yoghurt, sweet slivers of strawberry, and crunchy home-made granola. Delicious.
Afterwards, we popped across the road to Kaffeine to grab a coffee to see us on our way, and by 10.30 I was on board a train at Kings Cross - a very efficient breakfast catch-up!
**Originally invented for the author Arnold Bennett at the Savoy Hotel, this open-faced smoked haddock omelette is topped with bechamel and cheese and finished off under the grill - see recipe here to try at home.