When Niche followed me on Twitter last week, I couldn’t help but take a sneak peak at their menu straight away.
Next thing, the afternoon had come to a halt as fish and chips, sticky toffee pudding, and their extensive range of salads and sausages reeled themselves off my screen… the array offresh and traditional comfort foods made a good first impression, and dinner was destined to happen here sometime soon…
So last night when my medic best friend – Joanna, gave me the instructions to find us a dinner place that served “something hearty” to follow up her 12 hour day of a breakfast/lunch-less hospital placement, there were no questions asked. Based on their re-tweets, a lot of people seemed to talk about the excellent service here at Niche, as well as the high quality of the food. So to Niche we went!
This cute little fairy-lit place just down the street from Angel tube certainly did not disappoint us – plus the service really is special!
When we arrived at about 7pm on the dot, the whole restaurant was packed. It’s pretty small inside, so we thought we’d have to just give it a miss and go somewhere else instead. However, within the next 5 minutes or so, we managed to get seated, and then everyone just left all at once?! Weird! Apparently we smell. Either that or their pre-theatre menu is really popular Nonetheless, once the restaurant had quietened down, the ambience softened so much that we could almost hear each others’ dish indecision…
Despite the rainbow veggies that kept appearing on my Twitter feed, last night was one dark, cold, and rainy evening…Even the yummy sounding ‘superfood’ salad wasn’t fit for the job unless it was to come with a side of brioche encased beef burger and a basket of crunchy fries…
Instead then, I just made life easier and ordered the beef burger. Extra avocado and Applewood cheese ended up in my order too. Just cause. Can we please just take a moment to appreciate this immensity?!
It was big, juicy, tender burger, and the brioche bun was one of the nicest I’ve ever had – soft, squishy, pillow-like, and sweet! I’ve had way too many brioche buns that are more greasy than they are moist, but this one was perfect. Although it wasn’t toasted I actually prefer my buns like this! There is nothing worse than making fresh bread crunchy IMO – yay for untoasted.
The chips also came in the cutest little ‘basket’ ever. They were hand-cut and served in a mini fryer – a lovely touch, and definitely bending towards that ‘gastro-pub’ sophistication which chip fanatics like me can’t resist ;). Sadly they looked crispier than they actually were and were slightly on the cold side, but they were crisp enough and yummy overall.
And though we aren’t sure if regular customers consume the same amount of ketchup with their chips, or mayo with their mash as we do, there was one tiny niggle we had with the meal. How do we put this? We are sauce people. As in, we like lots of it. As in, a lot…seriously. We’re talking pint-sized ketchup bottles on tables, and a general abundance of squeezy mayonnaise/mustards within an arm’s reach…
Okay, so we’re kidding about the pint but, we did have to keep asking the staff to bring us these little ramekins of ketchup (at least 4 times) and we kind of felt like we were being nightmare customers in the process – none of the tablespoon sized servings could quite cut it! The last restaurant we had this ‘issue’ in gave up on us and just placed entire plate of ketchup in front of us instead. Another restaurant that does this is beefeater – but again, WHY?
Niche: Pretty please put condiment bottles onto the tables and let the customers’ sauce their hearts content and then you will probably be perfect. Another niggle that isn’t really a proper niggle was that the huge bucket of bread we side-ordered (no complaining about portion sizes here), came to the table with the smallest knob of butter. (In all honesty, the restaurant I part-time at does the same thing since most so many people tend to waste their butter), but there was nowhere near enough and we just wound up repeating the ketchup fiasco all over again.
Meanwhile, Joanna had the Christmas Turkey dinner pie with mash and onion gravy. The gravy was so thick it looked like HP/chocolate sauce; she said the pie ‘tasted like Christmas dinner’… which sounds like a good thing. I forgot to photograph it.
The waitress we had was really lovely! She was very friendly and keen to please. Unlike many servers nowadays, she didn’t make us feel under pressure and had none of that waitress-chic attitude that seems to accompany efficient (or not so efficient) service nowadays. A second shout-out goes to the guy who took over our table for the second half of our meal – he was very professional and had really nice gentle mannerisms about him, the service here shines because the staff are so sweet.
Lastly, the desserts here are just another level of YES:
Sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice cream: What I love about the sweet options here is that you can choose any flavour from their extensive range of ice creams to top your pud with – Vanilla, every time for me (boringggggg I know!) but they had options like Ferrero Rocher and salted caramel, plus a few sorbets to name a few. The vanilla ice cream was fragrant and beautifully beany. That said, the sticky toffee pudding was simply uh-mazing!!!! It was extremely soft, moist, caramel-y and sweet, topped with a melting ball of creamy frozen scoop of the vanilla. It was also cut into the moist perfect rectangle which made it just that little bit more divine… #canyoueven (I can’t):
Peanut butter and white chocolate blondie: This was Joanna’s. The crazy thing was that, for the first time in my life I didn’t get peanut butter based food envy since I was so content with the toffee-pud. But WOW this blondie was good. The Blondie layer was spongy and moist, whilst the frosting layer was extremely peanut-y, thick, and dense. The ratio of frosting-sponge was equally excellent. Although Joanna did look up mid-dessert to say “sugar-coma”…Again, perfect slicing! Doesn’t it look delicious topped with that salted caramel ice cream?
Just as we were finishing our desserts, a new couple in their 50’s or so sat down next to us. The guy out of them wanted to order some hummus and bread. But first, he asked the wife how healthy hummus was for him. She then replied by saying that it had too much fat, and didn’t let him order his hummus and bread after all….Life is too short! So come here, order yourself some delicious starters and grab yourself something hearty and proper. Then let yourself get disorientated by the pretty blue lights:
All in all Niche: fab food, fab service, pretty (if minimalistic) restaurant, and… we will most certainly be returning for your fish and chips sometime soon!
P.S. we liked the Click London photography over the walls – a nice touch!
“You’ll look at the clock, and 5 minutes will have gone by, or an hour, or even a year…You can lose your clarity for quite some time. Where did you go? How did you come back?” — The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer