Greyhound Cafe Makes A Fashionable Entrance To The London Food Scene
It’s not often you come by a fashion label-turned-restaurant, but that’s exactly what Greyhound Cafe is. Launched as a fashion house in 1980, Greyhound opened its first eatery in 1997 in Bangkok. Twenty years on, and seventeen restaurants later, Greyound Cafe has landed in London.
Perusing the menu, the brand’s roots are salient; vibrant images leap of the A3 pages like a glossy magazine from the 1980s. It’s an arresting read, handy for killing time if you’re waiting for a late dinner guest. The individual basket-cum-straw beach bag for your coat is another nod to the restaurant’s modish identity.
The staff are friendly and percipient, keen to offer a suggestion or two without being overbearing. We kick off with two sweet and sour cocktails, on our waiter’s recommendation — and it’s not long before we order another round.
For starters, we try the crispy sweetcorn crab pops and the Bangkok meatless bruschetta. For the main, we opt for the Esarn chicken and rice, and the mixed mushrooms basil chilli bomb. Our waiter tells us that the food is not served by course; each dish is served once it’s ready.
As it transpires, the dishes are served in chronological order, more or less, though our main dishes arrive during the starter. We’re ravenous so we don’t mind.
Dipped in sweet chilli sauce, the crispy-skinned crab pops are devilishly delicious. The Italian bruschetta are simple, but tasty; the two chopped tomato versions are a refreshing balance to the two (very) spicy mushroom topped ones.
The Esarn chicken leaves little to be desired: a whole chicken (albeit a small one) complete with a chilli side salad (do not eat the chillis!) and an adorable basket of riceberry (a purple rice from Thailand). The chicken is succulent and flavoursome. The pretty but plain rice is salvaged by the chilli dipping sauce (jaew), which is tolerably spicy.
This isn’t quite the case with the mushroom chilli bomb, surprisingly. The dish certainly lives up to its name, detonating a violent blast of heat in our mouths. The side of fish sauce does little to cool our scorched taste buds, but the gooey egg yolk and plain rice make some headway. If you like to play with fire, this is the dish for you. Otherwise, set up a tab for bottled water.
The dessert menu is surprisingly vast for an Asian restaurant. There are plenty of familiar faces, such as French toast and chocolate brownie, albeit with an Asian-inspired makeover. We order the palm sugar banana and the young coconut sherbet.
The same rule applies for dessert as for the main; food is served as it’s made. We finish our coconut sherbet by the time the banana pudding arrives, which is practical if you are sharing. The coconut sherbet has the richness of ice cream, but the iciness of sorbet. It’s a refreshing palate cleanser to a still-tingling palate. The candied banana and vanilla beam ice-cream is a rich finish, with the palm sugar caramel adding that extra dose of decadence.
It might have started off as a fashionista, but Greyhound Cafe has proven that it has all the makings of a top-notch foodie too.
Greyhound Cafe, 37 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3LZ.
Last Updated 25 January 2018