Open 10am—10.30pm Mon—Fri; 9.30am—10.30pm Sat; 9.30am—9pm Sun
Describing itself as a cafe-bistro, The Henry Root is tucked just off the Fulham Road, and is really less of a cafe than a family restaurant.
A miscellany of angling paraphernalia, burlesque images, French objets d’art and industrial lighting, the décor wasn’t so much unattractive, as very confused. There was a lovely marble-topped bar, panelled walls and beautifully upholstered settles lining the walls. There was also some great artwork lining the stairs to the loo. But there was a lack of consistency, with the tiny parquet-style, Jenga-sized floorboards clashing with the other woods. The style could best be described as English eccentric meets American crab shack meets 1920s Paris.
Service was casual. Our manager was sweet, and our waiter was friendly in an informal Aussie way—although we were a little miffed when he walked off midway through taking our order, prompted only by a momentary pause.
Given the angler décor and fish in their logo, the menu was surprisingly land-based. We started with the buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil. While the tomatoes were flavoursome and the mozzarella pleasingly gooey, the cheese was proportionally insufficient. Perhaps the kitchen was running low.
Being able to watch the activity in an open kitchen is always welcome, and our entrée of rib-eye steak béarnaise more than compensated for the stingy portions of mozzarella. The béarnaise sauce was both gratifyingly sharp as well as creamy. My friend ordered her steak medium rare, and it came medium, whilst I ordered mine blue to rare, and was rather closer to medium rare. I have a degree of sympathy when kitchens do this, as customers often order steak less well done than they actually mean. But I wanted my steak swimming in blood. The steak was served with a generous portion of rustic chips. We requested mayo to accompany, which had a nice mustardy kick.
Lottie had a glass of Gavi and I had Sancerre, followed by a Shiraz and Crozes Hermitage with our steaks. All were decent, although the Sancerre was sharper than some.
They offer an option of only three cheeses, one was a soft goat’s cheese, another a hard cheese, and the third a blue cheese. We were only interested in the hard cheese, which was salty and resembled a good gruyere.
Lottie opted for the strawberries and meringue with Chantilly cream. The presentation was beautiful, but there was too much meringue in relation to cream, and rather few strawberries. Which was a great shame, as the strawberries were delicious. We rounded off the meal with an Americano and latte, both served in twee Calico Burleigh floral teacups.
All in all, a sweet restaurant-cum-café, particularly suited to catch-ups with elderly relatives or young children.