Open for Mon–Fri 6.30pm–10.30pm, Sat–Sun 7.30pm–11pm
Urban Meadow cafe is bright, light and spacious. Situated under the Hyde Park Hotel, it’s conveniently close to Notting Hill Gate without feeling too busy.
The attempt to amalgamate garden furniture into comfortable dinner wear does work on the whole, and this is a large space to fill, until you find yourself sitting on what is ostensibly a banquette side by side facing a round table.
Urban Meadow has an extensive range of tea available. For those who have overcome their attempts at a dry January and are looking for a hardier drink, there is a large range of local London organic sourced ales and cider. Favourites are the Camden’s Hell Lager, the London Fields Brewery and the Meantime Chocolate Porter. I can recommend the organic white Picpoul de Pinet from the varied wine list.
The prices here are really reasonable and this is probably due to it being pitched more as a cafe than a restaurant, yet care has clearly gone into the interior design.
The set menu has two options, two courses for £10.95 and £13.95 for three, for which I opted. I had the fried calamari and green pesto to start. The calamari was cooked perfectly and the stringy quill had been removed. The pesto dressing let the dish down, I’m not entirely convinced this is a recommended flavour combination, and so as a result the unseasoned calamari tasted quite plain. If the calamari were to come with a different dressing or chilli then I would have no complaints. The main was a simple chicory and leek crepe, which continued the theme of being under seasoned, as did my dinner companions fish pie.
Although I had to add quite a bit of salt and pepper, the pie was creamy with a thick layer of mash, a generous amount of large prawns, thick pieces of haddock and chunks of free range egg and was definitely filling.
To start, my friend ordered the crushed avocado toast with chilli, coriander and pea shoots. The avocado was ripe and creamy but again the lack of seasoning let it down, along with the fact that there was not nearly enough chilli. This was a simple dish and when simple is done well with good ingredients, it can be the best of food; in this case the ingredients were good yet the small touches that make a simple dish great were not there.
Other dishes that caught the eye were the potted rabbit starter, the pulled pork slow roast burger, the Kerns cheddar cauliflower cheese and the winter lamb casserole with curly kale, which came recommended by our lovely, friendly waiter Iain.
I had a tough choice between the gooseberry and pear crumble with vanilla custard or the rhubarb and almond tart with clotted cream for dessert. I opted for the latter. This dish was the third part of the set menu and was intended to be shared but luckily for me my friend was still full from the pie and I ended up eating it all. If you love marzipan, as I do, then you will love this dessert.
All in all this cafe/bar is a pleasant place to dine, meet friends or have a business meeting, with separate sections which feels like it caters to most and perfect if you like simple food priced reasonably. The staff and atmosphere were friendly and the space calming and when I left over two hours later, there was a definite spring in my step.