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|Address:||43-51 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7PQ|
|Tel:||020 7927 0840|
|Price: £42.00||Wine: £18.00||Champagne: £40.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 7.30am-12N 12N-3.30pm Sat-Sun 9-11.30am 12N-4pm Mon-Sun 6-10pm (Sun -9.30pm)|
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The lunch and dinner menu is more substantial than the Cafe moniker might suggest. Plates of small sharing food occupy the top half of the menu, neatly priced at £3, £4 or £5, a popular recent trend and here pleasingly priced. It’s a bit all over the shop with no clear style; Moroccan nestles with continental bistro classics, Eastern treats sit next to solid British bites. That being said, there are some simple gems there and it’s easy to eat substantially for £12 – £15, priced well for the local office market as a weekly treat. I’d have trouble defining anything as perfect, but there’s nothing that doesn’t need just a small tweak from the army of chefs on show. Squid and chorizo came in a spicy tomato sauce with fresh olives, slightly too many flavours for the well cooked but subtle squid. Roasted butternut squash with sage and (sadly unnoticeable) chilli should have had a little more crisp to it for my money, but for three quid it’s hard to complain.
Other ‘smalls’ sampled include a very competent lamb with a superbly spicy aubergine puree and a tasty if slightly dry pork belly – three big cubes made a good enough impression for me to put it down to teething troubles and a minute too long under the heat lamps. The final two dishes continue the slightly odd world tour. Tuna ceveche, that lime ‘cooked’ tartare from Latin America, was another substantial portion well doused in spice and flavour (though lacking a little in lime according to The International Man of Mystery), and a steak tartare, a favourite of mine, here slightly over ‘prepared’ (ie pre-mixed with a touch too many capers, onions and herbs), it was difficult for the beef to shine, but I’d certainly give it another go.
Spread over two lunches, I also had time to sample the Tichfield Burger. An all too rarely seen sloppy mix of darkly pink flesh (I didn’t stop and get the breakdown, no doubt others will) cooked medium and nestled plumply on a controversially seeded (and slightly too chewy) bun. It wasn’t the worst bun I’ve had, and was certainly of a good quality, but didn’t quite ring true. The meat was excellent. The Tichfield comes topped with a fairly proportioned slice of grilled foie and thinly sliced and slow braised onions, both rendering down and sinking into the juicy meat like an upmarket sloppy joe.