When it comes to eating out, London’s dining landscape is not so much peppered but jam-packed with weird and wonderful restaurants in every nook, cranny or glass edifice. From dining in pitch-black, to eating amongst acrobats and fire breathers, or spending an evening in a mock up Fawlty Towers, the capital is not short of options. But, where does one go to kick-back in the more relaxed setting? Striving to be a place ‘that feels like home,’ Muriel’s Kitchen may provide the answer in this vast metropolis. There are 3 Kitchens in fact, one in Richmond, another in South Kensington, and the third – my destination – Soho.
My friend and I were greeted into a quaint restaurant with farmhouse-style décor which instantly created a homely vibe. With the sun streaming through the glass frontage we nestled in to the best seats in the house, which happened to be hanging from the ceiling. From there we got into the swing of things, specifically taking things at a distinctively slower pace than the happenings outside on Old Compton Street.
Out came the afternoon tea, a miniature picnic bench laden with finger sandwiches and sweets. The sandwich selection was strictly classic combinations – cream cheese and smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise and cracked black pepper, ham, cheese & pickle, and cucumber (obviously).
Muriel’s Kitchen clearly know that when it comes to afternoon tea, sandwiches are sometimes best left simple. These crust-less rectangles on pillow-soft bread were perfect for abating our hunger, whilst they weren’t too rich to damage our appetite for the sweets.
Onto indulging in the selection of sweet treats, we began with a personal favourite, the carrot cake. Moist and rich in spices it still retained the subtle taste of carrots. It remains a personal favourite.
The banoffee pie came in a jar, which is the kind of structural cheat I would see at home – if my family were ever to bake. Nonetheless upon digging through the whipped cream and into the toffee mixture and biscuit base below, it was clear this banoffee pie was ticking all the boxes – a holy trinity of indulgence, sweetness and contrasting textures. In short, delicious.
When it came to sampling the creme egg brownies, the creme egg wasn’t as prevalent as you would expect. This is a positive in my humble opinion, although I know there are many that will disagree with me on this. That said, the brownies were still rich and squidgy, which everyone can get on board with.
Adding to this array was a berrilicious smoothie, which made a fruity refreshment to balance the richness of the cakes.
We finished off with surely the best bit of any afternoon tea, fruit scones served with thick clotted cream and raspberry jam. Having been freshly baked they were still warm, and so a definite highlight.
We were kept refreshed by the plentiful choices of tea – English breakfast, Earl Grey, camomile, peppermint, chai, super fruit, green tea, jasmine tea, rooibos. Sipping on the endless brews, being full of good grub and swaying our afternoon away, we became utterly relaxed. What a rare but pleasing state to find yourself in the centre of town. And if that isn’t testament to Muriel’s Kitchen ‘place like a home’ ambitions, I don’t know what is.
Muriel’s Kitchen – Soho
36 – 38 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TT