I found myself in the area after a walk from home on the Heath. Feel I really stumbled into a local secret .. The modest Cafe signs on the front do not in anyway give the place justice, though do lend themselves to the relaxed atmosphere. As soon as I sat down on the comfy leather chairs I knew I had made the right decision when greeted by the friendly waiter. The restaurant was packed by locals despite the fact I had never heard of it ! The menu had lots of fresh fish, (they had been to the market in the morning) and lots of vegetables and salads. Everything sounded inspiring, creative and delicious. Freshly baked bread with butter while I waited and it was hard to resist the temptation when asked if I wanted more ! I had the smoked haddock with a poached egg with this delicious cream and chive sauce to start. The food is made fresh in the small and open kitchen, a definite family vibe. When the plate arrived I had to take a photo before I took a bite. Presentation was amazing. Had to look up and check that I was still in a local restaurant and not some how transported into town ! When I did finally get a bite I was not disappointed. The egg was cooked to perfection, had that beautiful orange colour and rich consistency and wow the fish. You could taste the freshness. It wasn't over smoked or that awful yellow stained colour. Was just perfect ! Those rare times when non fish fans are reminded that fish is in fact not boring. For a main I had the open ravioli with salt baked celeriac and wild mushrooms with truffle oil. I didn't speak with the Chef but I would not be surprised to find out that he was Italian. It was sublime, just the right blend of earthy, indulgent flavours ! I would post a photo here but I don't think I am able. Clearly the pasta was homemade and they really know their stuff . The house red wine was a perfect match. I was so full and content I just could not fit in a desert though when I return for a dinner it will be a must. Everything I spied leaving the kitchen looked divine ! I wasn't even sure whether I wanted to post a review because I would hate not being able to get a table ! I would say almost impossible to be improved upon but they are joined to a bookstore and not just any bookstore. You can go and browse anytime and there is a great narrow connecting door ! Such character and just such a hidden find ! The staff really know their books ! There is art hanging on all the walls and wooden bookcases everywhere ! Even if your not a book fan ;0 worth stepping in for the experience. They had all the latest books but after a recommendation from the clearly well read staff I bought a real treat of a read ! Which I never would have discovered on my own and certainly not on Amazon. I was told the owner is often there walking about. I didn't get to meet him but thank you Mr Joseph for creating one of the best venues in London.
NB The food was extremely reasonable, a main at aprox £9 / £13