Sunday, 22 April 2012

A Real Taste Of Borough Market - Elliot's Cafe, SE1, London

Very rarely you get a dining establishment that is so relaxed and pared down that it instantly put a diner at ease and that's what Elliot's cafe managed to do. With its monotone facade and stripes canopy, it exudes a chill-out atmosphere. The cafe has an outdoor sitting where one can enjoy their food while taking in all the surrounding bustling scene of Borough Market.
Once entered, the exposed brick walls and a large cast-iron communal table slap bang in the middle dominated the room and had a vintage industrial feel about the place. Large skylight at the back of the room provided ample natural light to make the room feel spacious despite being really busy.

We arrived 15 minutes before our reservation ( yes, you can make a reservation for lunch here on the weekend - what a relief!) but thankfully, there was a vacant table and so we duly sat right next the window where the view of Borough market was in full sight.
The cheerful and friendly waitress came over and took our order before she trod off to the kitchen and return with  some wine and a complimentary bottle of filtered water. She chatted to us for bit before leaving us again to attend to other tables, while popping back every so often to top up our glasses. If this was a dinner party, she would be the perfect hostess.
It didn't took very long before our orders started arriving. The charcuterie (£10.50) and the fresh bread (£2) were both excellent. The bread was fresh and has an amazing flavoursome crust.
The scallops (£10.50) were so fresh and beautifully cooked that it has a melt-in-the-mouth texture and a gentle sweet taste. The tangy lemon and the green-tasting broad beans were perfect additions to these delectable seafood. The six wild rock oysters were incredibly fresh - sweet, slightly tangy with a smooth and pleasant aftertaste of the sea. This was not surprising, given that they sourced all their ingredients from the market on their doorstep which meant minimum transporting time and thus the seafood were of stellar quality.
The biggest surprise was the steak tartare (£9). It arrived looking nothing like the conventional presentation; with the finely chopped steak spread out in the middle of the plate and surrounded by petals of salted crisps. We weren't that sure about this until we took a bite and what a delight it was! The meat was so tender that it almost dissolved in the mouth, beautifully flavoured with a touch of sweetness and together with the crunchy crisps, the combination of the textures and flavours was just marvellous.

The fried maris piper potato with aioli (£3.50) were just as brilliant. Good flavours and crispy outer just as it should be.
For puddings, the lime curd, meringue & milk jam ice cream sundae (£6.50) went down a treat.. As for the sheep ricotta and honey cheesecake with pistachio ice cream (£7), it divided our opinions. I liked it but M did not and doesn't think it worked. I did not agreed as it was creamy with a subtle sweetness from the honey and together with the pistachio ice cream, I thought it was a great idea. Although I did agreed with M about the base being far to hard to cut through with the spoon.
Elliot's cafe is a charming little venue that concentrate on serving the very best of what is on offered seasonally from the local Borough market. And these shown through from all the top notch quality food the we had sampled. The service was friendly and the food reasonably priced. We did not have the burger (£10.50 with shoestrings fries) which they were famous for as it was only available for weekdays lunch but rest assured that it won't be too long before we frequent this little gem again.

Our meal came to a total of £83 with a bottle of wine, the filtered water and the superb service are free.

Elliot's Cafe
12 Stoney Street

Elliot's Cafe on Urbanspoon
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