When you spend the morning doing something you've been putting off for a very long time, it's always good to give yourself treat afterwards.
Now I really didn't want to spend my saturday morning cleaning my bathroom, or doing the vacuuming. At the age of 22 I somewhat caught in a state of immature adulthood - I have no mother nagging at me to turn on the extractor after i've had a shower, or not leave knives covered in peanut butter all over the flat combined with my complete inability to motivate myself to do any of those 'boring adult jobs'. The result of this is a somewhat haphazard and damp flat. Therefore all jobs must come with a reward, so after cleaning last Saturday I enjoyed a very civilised lunch at Garden Kitchen in Eldon Square.
Not being a fan of shopping centres or weird inside pretending to be outside spaces, I found the sunken dining area of Garden Kitchen surprisingly discreet and relaxed, avoiding any cliched American-mall touches. Competing for the ladies-that-lunch who frequent Fenwicks Cafe 21 and Cafe Royal it has a range of sandwiches and main meals plus sharing platters, tea, coffee, cocktails and cake.
I seriously loved the fresh cloudy lemonade (around £2 a glass, or £3.95 for a jug to share), crisp and refreshing and perfect if you were feeling a little worse for wears. A cocktail combining Hendricks Gin, cucumber, mint and lemon caught my eye but I sadly thought it too early for any of that business. The other half obviously didn't agree with that and enjoyed a light Allendale ale.
We hadn't been eating meat for the start of January. I know, shocking for those who know me as a die hard meat eater but a period of detox seemed necessary after Christmas excesses and I also think if you can get a strong basis of cooking vegetarian it will make your whole repertoire a great deal more varied *steps down from soapbox*. Some hunks of good meat between bread called to us from the menu and we shared pastrami, american mustard, gherkins and rocket on brown (£5.75), and a steak sandwich with fried onions (£7.75).
The steak sandwich was perhaps not quite what we were expecting, very thin cut steak more like roast beef, but was complimented by the sweet caramelised onions and very soft ciabatta. The pastrami on the other hand, was a total winner, crunchy gherkins and the tangy American mustard, plus thick slices of pastrami with a good ring of marbled fat and pepper coating. Accompanied by some crisp skinny fries (£2.95), and light side salads it was the sort of sophisticated lunch real life grown up adults enjoy.
We finished with coffee and cake, a huge slice of carrot and hazelnut cake with creamy yet light frosting. The two women on the table next to us had been nattering away since we arrived so it's clearly somewhere people are happy to while away the afternoon hours without feeling rushed even though it was really busy. Quality food and attentive and polite staff with a good price point make this a great option for lunch in the centre of town. And make sure you get the lemonade.
Garden Kitchen is in Eldon Gardens, NE1 7RA and is open 7 days a week.
I was invited to review Garden Kitchen.