Thursday, February 23, 2006

Food: Raoul's Cafe, Maida Vale - chilly, but for the food

The Universal Parents return to the antipodes today, so we showed Universal Stepfather Maida Vale by breakfasting at Raoul's Cafe. (Not Raoul's Deli across the road.)

The food was faultless, as you would expect from a cafe that imports its eggs from Italy. They were perfect, of course: softly poached, with golden runny yolks and a smooth full flavour. The fruit smoothies were also sweet and thick, though mine had a big lump of frozen berry in it, which I had to extract by skewering it with my straw. (Yes, for those that know, it was the most satisfying part of the drinking experience.)

I would like to say the fruit salad with nuts, greek youghurt and honey was as good as it should have been too - I wanted it as soon as I saw the fruit chilling in the display cabinet by the door - but the waiter forgot about it.

The restaurant was freezing when we arrived - so cold that my parents wore their coats through the meal - and the maitre'd was as frosty as his room. He spoke in short barks, seemed a little startled, and slightly resentful when we ordered food, and was more startled and resentful with every exchange. He roughly dropped the cuttlery in front of my mother because it was too far to reach across our small table, and looked like he might be sick when the parents decided on a cup of tea at the end.

Then Universal Stepfather tried to attract someone's attention to ask for the bill. Then I had a go. Finally we asked for the bill. Then Universal Stepfather tried to attract someone's attention to ask for the bill, again. Then I had a go, again. Then Universal Stepfather had success, and finally we asked for the bill, again. It all took so long that when the bill finally arrived, we rounded up and ran - pausing by the fruit salad as we opened the door. If the extra £2.50 was the fee for getting out fast, then it was cheap. Nice way to earn an extra 7% tip.

Raoul's Cafe
13 Clifton Road, Maida Vale, London W9 1SZ
+44 207 2897313
Breakfast for three: three full English, coffees, teas and two fruit smoothies. £37.46

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