Post-yoga, I asked Lauren if she wanted to grab lunch, and she suggested a new restaurant on Exeter Street called Pipsdish, which exists in another incarnation in trendy Hoxton Square.
We were welcomed into the small (seats about 16, I counted) but chicly decorated (think rustic farmhouse versus modern soulless) restaurant by the owner, Philip Dundas - writer and cook.
I waited expectantly for a menu to appear when I suddenly realised that there wasn't a menu.
I was so excited.
Instead, Pipsdish serves up whatever is being cooked that day, using a variety of fresh ingredients with influences from around the world. Aptly on a Sunday, they were serving a starter of bruschetta followed by a hearty pork roast or stuffed portobello mushrooms with feta and baby new potatoes as the veggie option. Although I'm an enthusiastic carnivore at the best of times (remind me to tell you about our recent visit to Meat People later), I'd been craving a salad before Lauren made her suggestion, and the thought of the steak I had in the fridge for dinner ultimately steered me away from the roast (as appealing as it sounded!) and toward the stuffed mushrooms instead. And while I stuck with mint-infused water, Philip did tempt us with the suggestion of a glass of prosecco or freshly pressed apple juice, which sounded delicious.
Well, let me tell you: the bruschetta was ah-mazing (I loved the sweet, yellow and red tomatoes and deliciously salted rocket leaves), but the main course was divine. There was just the right amount of feta crumbled into the mushrooms and the baby new potatoes were cooked to the perfect consistency - so that the insides were just the tiniest bit unyielding, rather than powdery or crumbling. To date, I've only had similarly cooked potatoes at St. John, which was a total luxury. Though filling, it didn't feel heavy, and the addition of flavorful, smaller mushrooms mixed in with the potatoes were a real treat.
The curried cabbage was my favorite and I only wish
I knew which ingredients were used to prepare it, because it was so
delicious - I greedily helped myself to seconds and even thirds.
And for a totally silly reason, I loved that the food was served in a simple casserole dish and accompanied by pretty plates and vintage cutlery. It really felt like we were dining in someone's kitchen at home, rather than "out" out, if you know what I mean.
Though the restaurant doesn't usually take bookings (due to last-minute no-shows, as evidenced the day we were visiting), they have a very sweet "hut" downstairs that can be reserved for a larger party, say, around 10 or so. I'm seriously considering this for my 30th, though if I wanted to invite more people, I might check in with the Hoxton Square location, which seats more and caters for private events.
Of course, I also enjoyed the literary and philosophical hall of fame in the bathroom:
I'm so looking forward to taking friends to Pipsdish and I haven't felt so enthusiastic about a new restaurant in a while. If you like being surprised and love home-cooked meals, I think you'll want to try it too.