Royal Quarter Café in Victoria
The arrival of Royal Quarter Café is part of the recent regeneration of London’s Victoria area, which, despite the prestige of neighbouring tourist magnets Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, has somehow missed out on excessive retail development. The fourth venture from Valeria and Doron Zilkha, owners of The Quarter Group, is just as inviting as their other establishments, found in Chelsea, Battersea and department store Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road. Brown shelving units and oak tables are interspersed with green leather chairs, caramel sofas and low hanging lamps to create a homely living room feel, while floor-to-ceiling windows swathe the venue in natural light, illuminating a long food counter housing mouth-watering cakes, salads and meats.
Items are available to eat in or take away and even the pickiest eater can find something on Royal Quarter Café’s extensive menu – there are no less than 18 All Day Breakfasts, plus a range of homemade breads, pastries, cakes, tarts, sharing plates and platters, salads, soups, sandwiches, and afternoon tea!
The carvery is definitely worth a visit, offering soft, juicy meats served in artisan bread rolls: Roast Leg of Lamb with a mint mayonnaise on homemade potato and rosemary bread is melt-in-the-mouth tender; Lean Salt Beef with a crunchy, sour gherkin on a caraway seeded bun is succulent and moist; but BBQ Chicken could be scaled back to limit a tasty but overpowering sauce.
Meze-style sharing dishes are hearty and flavoursome, particularly dips of light, chickpea Hummus and a smoky, almost barbecued, aubergine Moutabel – both served with an order of Homemade Baguette Crisps. Of the salads, the stand outs include: Grilled Artichoke in a subtle lemon dressing with added broccoli, green beans, celery and parmesan cheese; Persian-inspired Couscous with sweet pomegranate, pine nuts and spring onion; Lentil & Chickpeas which explode like flavour bombs in the mouth to deliver hits of red onion, peppers, carrots and olives; and a Seafood Salad of mussels, clams, squid and octopus, bathed in an exquisite marinade of garlic, chilli and fennel.
Desserts here are made for sugar lovers and Lemon Cheesecake proves to be smooth and sweet but the soggy bottom needs work, Chocolate Brownie – studded with Macadamia nuts – is far better, but only opt for the White Chocolate Brownie if you have a record-breaking sweet tooth; it will strip enamel with every bite!
As with most café menus, not all items are up to par (like the quiches and veggie pizza) but, once settled into Royal Quarter Café’s comfortable seating, any gripes become minor: the light, airy venue feels like a home away from home and it’s tempting to stay all day. The Zilkhas pride themselves on using seasonal produce to create handmade, wholesome food and it’s the taste of home cooking that gives the eateries their charm; perfection isn’t necessarily a guarantee but the effort put into making each dish is hugely gratifying, creating an overwhelming urge to return over and over again, for more hearty food produced with undeniable love.
Royal Quarter Café: 48/60
Photos: Monika Jørgesen
To book a table at Royal Quarter Café, Wellington House, 72-73 Buckingham Gate, SW1E 6BE, call 020 7799 5050 or visit here.