H Street Deli (CLOSED)
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An Iberian-leaning café-cum-deli on Hildreth Street.
Please note, H Street Deli has now closed. Time Out Food Editors, December 2018.
Breakfast and brunch. Pastries and lunch. Adorable crockery, all for sale. Jars of posh pesto, giant packs of gourmet crisps. Tea, coffee, beer, wine by the glass. This Iberian-leaning café-cum-deli may be teeny, but man, it packs a lot in. During the week, people come for homemade soup, seasonal salads and sourdough sarnies (from £4.95 to take away). They also come for cakes, made by a local baker, many of which are gluten-free (try the moist and zesty almond and bitter lime).
Everything else is cooked in-house, and much of it is very good. Brunch revolves around eggs: poached, scrambled or fried. The jamon Iberico florentine was an upmarket twist on the breakfast classic. A soft Scotch mist roll stood in place of the usual English muffin, each of its two toasted halves topped with a runny-middled poached egg, a generous heap of wilted spinach and folds of the cured Spanish ham. Finally, an excellent hollandaise sauce. Big tick.
Even better was the salmon and asparagus: a fat heap of buttery scrambled eggs (the menu advertises poached but staff will offer you either) plus lashings of smoked salmon and a few charred asparagus spears on another of those rolls. More excellent hollandaise. Double tick.
One word of warning though: stay clear of the ‘Latin’ dishes: the stew (they call it a ‘soup’) of black beans in a plate of so-called rancheros was unpleasantly acidic, as was a too-small pot of guacamole. Such a pity.
But what makes H Street Deli special is the young team’s commitment to hospitality. Nothing was too much trouble. One waiter took a bowl of water out to a thirsty pup. The other fussed over younger diners (a refreshing change to the no-kids vibe of some local brunch spots). Service with a smile? I’ll take seconds.