I’ve decided that the only thing fun about flat hunting is discovering new places to eat. So, rather than focus on the stress, worry and general disappointment, I’d rather think about my recent lunch at The Lido Cafe near Herne Hill.
If you haven’t heard of The Lido Cafe, you might share my surprise when you first walk in. In my head, I’d expected to find the usual chaotic scene of a swimming pool cafe – children running around in their costumes as mothers nervously wait for them to slip on the wet floor and start wailing, coupled with a menu of cheap instant coffee, stale carrot cake and something that resembles a panini (perhaps I’m being a little harsh, but you should get my point).
Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong, as the cafe/restaurant/bar is surprisingly calm, only admitting the creme de la creme of well behaved children. What’s more, the room is wonderfully lit up on a sunny day, so for a moment, you can imagine you’re actually on holiday.
There are separate menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all of which serve seasonable British dishes at a reasonable price (approx. £5-10 starter, £10-15 main, £5 dessert). As we were going to a friend’s birthday dinner in the evening, we both opted for light options, starting with The Boyfriend’s Pulled Pork Bap.
Even though the crunchy homemade coleslaw and thinly shaved pickles made perfect sides, the rich and sweet pulled pork was so tasty that even the bap proved superfluous. I felt a pang of envy when I saw the plate of meaty goodness placed in front of The Boyfriend, but as soon as my colourful Jersey Royal and Wild Garlic Tortilla appeared, that feeling left me and I couldn’t wait to dig in.
Jersey Royals will be in short and expensive supply this year due to the droughts, so any opportunity to eat them should be taken. Being a Jersey girl at heart, I’ve always been a fan of these wonderful potatoes, having enjoyed the crop from my Grandfather’s garden since I can remember. No one can ignore their unique flavour, which really comes through in the Tortilla, delicately laced with garlic and paired brilliantly with a serving of sweet Piquilo Pepper and smoky rocket.
The word that pops into my head when I think of The Lido Cafe is ‘pleasant’. This isn’t meant to be derogatory, as what can be more pleasant than eating fresh tasty food in the sunshine whilst watching people enjoy the pool? So, with that in mind, as a lunch destination I’m giving The Lido Cafe a LLE Rating of 8/10, which would probably alter slightly depending on the weather.
The Lido Cafe, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0PA