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|Address:||12 Stoney Street, Borough Market, London SE1 9AD|
|Tel:||020 7403 7436|
|Price: £36.00||Wine: £12.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 7am-10pm (Sun – 4pm)|
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‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ a wise man once said, but an even wiser man; Einstein A, said there is no knowledge without experience. It is with this in mind that lauding praise upon the virtues of this fine establishment potentially provides the barrier to entry, should the foodie masses elect to descend upon Stoney Street and thus hamper the availability of tables, good for the restaurant bad for this diner. It would be terribly glib to say that there is nothing not to like about Elliot's cafe but that was certainly my impression on my recent early evening visit, then again I didn't have to take a comfort break, so the facilities could have been awful, but unlikely. All very open plan, exposed brickwork, a communal table, encourages an intimacy and a friendly atmosphere, aided by the confident and welcoming staff. The daily changing menu is sourced from the provender’s of Borough market, I am assured, and the limited but interesting wine list covers bold choices and crowd pleasers admirably. The waitress showed a deft touch in interpreting some of the less obvious choices on the menu and certainly steered my companion and I to choices befitting appetite and palate. I began with the Squid & Black Spelt; the squid grilled not fried and the spelt, blackened by the squid ink had the consistency of a light but rustic risotto; a superb pairing. My chum tucked into the Mussels, chilli and Iberian ham, to which he had offered me a sample and I foolishly replied with a request to be left one at the end. Now either deaf ears (conveniently) or the overwhelming enjoyment of the dish prevented me from sampling a mollusc but I was rest assured that the flavours were well matched and that it was a dish straight out of the toppest of drawers in the tallboy. For the main course we both opted for the Beef Wing-rib with beets and horseradish, accompanied (on recommendation) with a side order / starter of the Cauliflower Fondue, dill pickle and onions. The beef was pink, well seasoned and the horseradish fresh and grated not in a creamy sauce. Also on the plate was some radicchio, a fitting yin of bitterness to the yang of the sweet beetroot. In the normal rules of Association Fondue Eating, a fine is levied against the perpetrator of a dropped piece of bread, meat or vegetable into the fondue pot, and as such someone in the kitchen will have to neck of shot of schnapps every time this dish is prepared, for the cauli comes already ‘fondued’, atop the pickle and onions. Rules aside this is a clever use of the ingredients and did stack up well against the beef. In a bid to keep the sugar intake down I passed on the pud, but took a piece of Beaufort, one of the two cheeses on offer, which was a generous helping accompanied by quince and oatcakes. M’colleague had other intentions and didn’t waiver from the warm chocolate cake with butterscotch sauce, nor did he offer a sample, enough said. Wine-wise; I cowardly didn’t plum for the Essex white despite enthusiastic coaching from our server, but an Austrian Riesling, which was excellent and we took the very reasonable Saint Emillion with the beef. It is worth noting that all bar a couple of the wines on offer are available by the glass. Another big positive, particularly dear to the heart and wallet of this writer; was the proclamation of “No bottled water. Filtered water is free” refreshing in every sense, particularly when you don’t have to ask for it. Others take note. So the food’s great, the service is great and the surroundings and atmosphere endearing. Will I be back, yes if I can get a table, if only to check out the loos!