Elliot’s Cafe (which is more a restaurant than a cafe) has a rather splendid location right on the edge of Borough Market. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday and during our visit for a quick bite to eat on Saturday for lunch the place was positively packed.
There was a bar with stool seats by the entrance and then a small dining area out the back. Exposed brick walls made for a shabby yet stylish appearance and the place had a seriously buzzy atmosphere. It’s all very ‘organic wines’ this and ‘homemade lemonade’ that – and they don’t sell Coke, it’s that kind of place.
The menu was split into large and small plates so my gentleman companion and I decided to share a selection of the latter. Some house bread kicked things off gloriously. It was served warm and had a perfectly spongy centre with a crunchy crust.
The squid, cauliflower and curry butter (£9) looked beautiful. The squid was cooked to utter perfection; soft and delicate but with a blackened crust from the grill. The silky cauliflower purée soothed the well spiced butter sauce brilliantly making for a delightful blend of flavours.
Luckily for us we were given the steak tartare (normally £9) from our waitress as there was some confusion over who had ordered it – fine by us! My gentleman companion felt it was verging on tasteless but I felt it was just a very delicately flavoured dish. The raw beef was cut coarsely giving it a lovely texture and it had an almost sweet flavour. The homemade salty crisps served alongside were the perfect utensils for scooping it up. I absolutely loved it.
The crispy pork salad (£8) was a welcome bit of greenery. Torn bits of crunchy pork were dotted in between the bitter chicory which was covered in a tangy vinaigrette; a simple but flavourful salad.
I was excited to see lamb heart with yoghurt and cucumber (£7) on the menu. We’ve had beef heart before at Ceviche in Soho and really like it and I love trying unusual ingredients. The lamb’s heart was served in two chunks and was seriously tender. The yogurt and cucumber was a light and refreshing accompaniment which cut through the rich irony flavour.
Our final delight was a side dish; confit leeks and Gubbeen (£6) which is a type of cheese. Who knew that leeks and melted cheese could be so ruddy delicious! The addition of a vibrantly green leek purée added even more leeky loveliness. Yum!
Service was charmingly frantic; the staff rushed from table to table yet it all seemed to be running smoothly. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, our waitress who was really friendly and chatty, kept our tap waters well and truly topped up. All this, combined with the tasty food, made for a rather wonderful lunch. We loved Elliot’s!