My brother-in-law, Andrew, is leaving for Germany next week and is going for an indefinite time. A meal fit for a king was called for so we headed for Queen Street Cafe in Croydon (just Google it for the contact details – no website).
I’ve been going to this cafe for their excellent breakfast/brunch options for a number of years. They offer morning food that is a cut above the standard cafe fare of a big fry up (not that I object to such heart stopping food well met). They do perfect eggs, better than any other cafe I’ve been to but they offer them combined with such dishes as spice braised beans, or scrambled with spinach and mushrooms, or in a swimmer crab omelette, always on thick, nicely dense toasted bread (coffee can be good but is inconsistent). I’ll do a separate blog on Queen Street as a whole in another post – it’s a funky place to go.
So back to the dinner. Apart from loving the food, the service and the ambience on the night, I really felt moved to blog about this place because I can’t believe it’s not booked out solidly every Friday night. It’s the only night they turn the cafe into a restaurant and ‘do dinner’ – and it’s a treat!
Set in a very quiet (at night) suburban backstreet, the warmly lit interior was an inviting beginning. Our waiter was friendly and helpful and it added a nice touch to be able to watch the chefs in action just in the next room. It felt intimate and comfortable while at the same time feeling like we were in an upmarket restaurant (nice cutlery, candles on the table, low lighting and professional service). The music was also a definite enhancer to the mood with a series of jazzy and funky pieces playing through the evening.
The best dishes of the night started with the entrée (the only one on the menu) that was a tapas like selection of tasty bites including a spoonful of duck confit with an orange marmalade (to die for) and toasty, buttery sautéed oyster mushrooms – the best I’ve ever had (when asked, the chef told me that they were simply the product of gentle sautéing with butter, what magic).
My main was rabbit in a mustard sauce which was a kind of stew or braise served in a clay bowl and topped with some green salad and herb leaves and slices of toasted Turkish bread. It was a very generous serve and I took my time devouring the tomatoey, creamy, slightly spicy, slow cooked goodness, filled with lovely stew veggies and succulent rabbit pieces on the bone.
My Mum, Jeanette chose the crab linguine. This was a really surprising dish which had jammy sweetness and a hint of chilli, neither of which overpowered the crab, and was lifted by lots of fresh tomato (another generous serve). Just lovely.
My friend Kasia had the mushroom risotto which I tried and thought was much too overpowering on the mushroom flavour to be enjoyable but she said she enjoyed it.
The pastry based desserts didn’t work as well as they should have because the pastry had lost its crispness and picked up that ‘fridge-flavour’.
The best dessert hands down was the Creme Brule which had a crisp, dark toffee crust over a luscious, vanilla seed studded, lightly set just warm custard.
So …some divine dishes, generous serves, reasonable prices, great music selection, friendly and professional staff in a warm and comfortable setting. I don’t know if they are usually quiet on the Friday night but if you want it to continue you should go there… go this Friday!
You can read some other reviews of Queen Street at Urban Spoon