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27 September 2006

Hilliard

I was a big supporter of Leon.  I still am I suppose.  However, I've found Hilliard and for the coffee alone I love it.  They make some of the best lattes and espressos in this bit of London.

Hilliard is in a slightly odd location and were it not for a piece in a recent Time Out, I don't reckon I would know it was there.  It is on Tudor Street, a side street in the middle of lawyerland with only a greasy spoon for culinary company.

Hilliard is clearly aimed at appealing to the highest common denominator.  The food is not cheap - £2.20 for a slice of lemon tart - but ingredients are clearly sourced well, there are a lot of staff on hand to serve and the surroundings are pretty nice.

Although the ingredients are good, I have had some slight issues with the final dishes.  On more than one occasion my porridge has been cold.  Somehow this has managed not to be as disgusting as it sounds.  I mentioned it once and they apologised, but it happened again this morning and is deeply annoying.  A similarly less than stellar outcome was their chocolate bread.  Essentially these are rolls with chocolate nibs melted into it.  The bread itself didn't have much flavour, mine was very doughy.  I'd go so far to say that with the very rich chocolate it was not very nice.

Having said that, a cheddar and pickle sandwich I had recently was on a great granary loaf, with a bit of sourness to it, working well against the pickle and the punch of the cheddar.  Their lemon tart is very good, a particularly nice touch are the small shreds of lemon peel.  For my taste, there could be a bit more lemon juice in it, but I'm sure others will like it just as it is.

Despite some clear negatives I really like this place.  I think it is still getting into its stride, but there is clearly confidence in the kitchen and in time that will fully translate into the food.  I also like it because much of the food they serve is the type of food I enjoy cooking: braises, stews, big salads, smoked mackerel.  I think the Caterer got it right describing it as bold food.

The restaurant opened earlier this year and I feel they're still finding their feet.  I'm more than happy to give them the benefit of the doubt - as long as they get that porridge heated up.

 

Hilliard (NB the website is not up yet), 26A Tudor Street, Blackfriars, London, EC4Y 0AY, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7353 8150

Google Maps

What others think
The Caterer - The level of thought that goes into the food sets Hilliard apart from what's available locally.

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