The classic London café Richoux has re-emerged in Piccadilly after the original in St John’s Wood became a Covid casualty. Chefs Jamie Butler and Lewis Spencer, both of whom hail from Michelin-starred restaurants, are at the helm and charged with breathing new life into the institution of yore, elevating its appeal to today’s diners.
Similar to version 1.0, the revamped Richoux pays homage to the grand brasserie, so you’ll start by passing through a chic little Parisian patisserie counter area (updated now with the obligatory Instagrammable flower display to placate any potential millennial clientele). The main dining room is dreamily staged with genteel correctness but unstuffy enough to be your everyday lunch spot if you so pleased.
Even though it’s located in the buzzy but Walmartian centre of London, this is no Hard Rock Café. Richoux has a classically simple, assured menu that spans staple dishes, like french onion soup, welsh rarebit and croque monsieur, that I’m sure bankers and tourists will nip in for. But if you’re looking for slightly more ambitious fare, you can find it here too.
We opted for three courses, kicking off with very good salmon sashimi in a sweet onion dressing that will replete your omegas with more succulence than expected. The kale salad with beetroot houmous and roasted almonds was not hugely memorable but stuffed with stellar produce, nonetheless. Of all the starters, though, don’t miss out on the breadbasket which boasted a few spears of piping-hot mini baguette, with a salted butter accompaniment.
Served with skinny fries that were pleasingly McDonalds-y, the steak was cooked to perfection
You can’t go too wrong with what you order here, but it ought to include the ribeye steak, which is, most definitely, one of the best things on the menu. Served with skinny fries that were pleasingly McDonalds-y, the meat was cooked to perfection. With a reasonable price tag too.
The desserts were the loveliest of the lovely things. We tried the layered gateaux – a multi-tiered meringue-and-sponge cake that was not too sweet and extremely fluffy, so a large sliver went down far too easily. Also, the dense, brownie-esque flourless chocolate cake with a crème fraîche dollop was heartily good in all its simplicity.
On the way out, we picked up a takeaway of Richoux’s OG pastry, the humble cruffin: a mash-up between a muffin and a croissant that’s generously stuffed with various fillings like salted caramel and vanilla bean. The name might need work, but the pastry is perfect. All in all, your time at Richoux is sure to be a reliably good one.
The vibe Perhaps not of-the-moment trendy but definitely warmly dependable.
The food You can pretty much be assured of a quality meal here.
The drink The usual liquid culprits are on offer – and the waitstaff are especially heavy-handed when pouring the prosecco.
Time Out tip Don’t leave without a cruffin for the journey home, and be sure to take your phone to the bathroom: the decor is lovely for a loo selfie.