HomeReviews - UKRake’s Café Bar – Liverpool St., London

Rake’s Café Bar – Liverpool St., London

HALAL STATUS Halal lamb & chicken • Alcohol served

The Parlour

Our menu represents the eclectic culinary tastes and different cultures found in London today, dishes combine stories of travel, trade and culture through exotic ingredients and flavours.

Located next door to Liverpool Street station (Bishopsgate entrance) in London is Rake’s, a plush restaurant with an informal vibe that’s described as “a café by day and bar by night”.

The place itself is divided into three separate areas:

  • The Front Room – a 45-seater dining room that’s home to both the main bar and varying DJs from Thursday to Saturday nights;
  • The Parlour – a lounge area complete with sofas that accommodates for 35, and which, in spite of a mini bar, offers a relaxed atmosphere where we comfortably conducted this review;
  • No.3 – an 8-cover private room perfect for business meetings or a little more intimacy.

The Front Room

While the All Day Dining menu is predominantly Halal-friendly, currently the restaurant only caters for Halal chicken and lamb, with one dish containing pork chorizo.

In addition, we’ve also been informed that strict measures are in place to ensure that all dishes are prepped and cooked to avoid any cross-contamination.

Since Rake’s is open from 7.30am every weekday, there’s also a fairly extensive breakfast and brunch menu, that’s available until 3pm in The Front Room only via reservations.

NOTE: A 12.5% discretionary service charge is added to your bill.

DRINKS

(Left-right) The Amuse Goose – gooseberry syrup, rose cordial, mint, elderflower tonic; The Designated Driver – seedlip spice, peach, lime, sugar, chives, ginger ale; The Exotic Escape – seedlip garden 108, passionfruit, coconut, soda, tonic – £6.00 each

Wow; kudos to the mixologist at Rake’s! A cracking trio of sophisticated mocktails that tantalised the tastebuds and had us scratching our noggins in wonderment.

There was very little to choose between the three; but if we had to, it would be The Amuse Goose for finding that perfect balance between the sweetness of the lychee and the refreshing tanginess of the gooseberry. Delightfully zingy!

The Designated Driver was a multilayered mocktail that offered a cracking citrusy mule kick that was superbly offset by the mildness of the seedlip.

The Exotic Escape was complicated, with a paradoxically gentle lemony harshness to it that made this an addictive beverage.

Honestly; order all three if you can and just enjoy!

BREAKFAST

Shakshuka, zhug, £8.50

This Shakshuka was a new addition to the breakfast menu which we were keen to try.

For the price, it was a good, hearty and wholesome platter, with five slices of crusty, grilled bread, and an attractive Shakshuka.

There was, however, a difference of opinion among the Lions. Hence, although one member was critical of the tomato-base being overly watery in consistency, and who also wanted both eggs to be, at best, over easy, his two colleagues enjoyed the varying consistency of the latter, which bordered in between medium and over medium.

Nonetheless, we all enjoyed the overall taste, particularly the gentle, chilli heat, and the freshness of the tomatoes therein.

And there was nothing better in the end, than using the crusty bread to really scoop out the last remnants within the dish.

SMALLER PLATES

Salt & pepper squid with tricoloured aioli, £7.50

The squid was a tad on the chewy side. But its delicately crispy and well seasoned batter compensated somewhat.

As for the tricoloured aioli sauces, then these were buttery in consistency and simply coloured, with squid ink accounting for the black one; and had a mild flavour to it and no more.

A straightforward dish this Salt & Pepper Squid, which was practically a few seconds away from being executed flawlessly.

Muhammara, beetroot hummus & baba ghanoush with artisan crackers (vegan), £9.00

Another simply conceived dish, that was vegan in nature, and comprised of three dips and two types of crackers.

The latter were thin, crunchy and nicely done, with the seeded variety the most flavourous, and the other more salted than anything else.

As for the dips, then the strongest was undoubtedly the vibrantly orange and silky smooth Muhammara, which had a deep peppery-cum-nutty taste to it.

Yet, while the beautifully smooth beetroot had its familiar earthy sweet undertone, the baba ghanoush was poor both in terms of its gloopey consistency and its lack of smokey taste.

But would we part with £9.00 for this? Not on your life!

Sesame cauliflower wings with cashew ranch (vegan), £6.50

Who would have thought that this vegan dish of sesame cauliflower wings could be so good given its apparent simplicity.

But these were well conceived and executed, with the stickiness of the sweet chilli glaze not impairing the crispiness achieved on the florets.

The sesame seeds imparted their distinct aroma to the dish, while the cashew ranch helped dampen the gentle heat that came through. The best of the trio of starters.

LARGER PLATES

Roast sweet potato, quinoa, raw mango & cucumber, pine nuts, tahini & lemon sauce (vegan), £9.50

And the hits just kept on coming with the vegan options! These medley of ingredients may seem disparate at first glance, but had altogether, exhibit harmony and precision of flavours and textures.

Hence, the sweet potatoes were indeed soft, and accompanied by thin, crunchy slithers of sweet potato crisps. The lightly salted quinoa brought the necessary seasoning, the tiny cubes of mango the sweet counter, and the cucumber and pine nuts an additional flavour; all of which were offset by the tahini and lemon drizzled over them.

But, we were all agreed that this dish struck us more as a side or plate of salad than a main.

Buttermilk chicken burger, chipotle ketchup, house slaw, cholla bread, £10.50

The rustic appearance of this towering hulk betrayed the way in which this layered gourmet buttermilk chicken burger was constructed.

The thick pieces of ever so succulent poultry was encased in a deliciously crispy herb batter.

This rested atop an authentic, homemade slaw, interspersed with tiny dollops of ketchup, that did its part in complimenting the subtle sweetness of the buttermilk.

The fluffy bun, sprinkled with flour, was soft and wonderfully grilled, and large enough to hold its precious cargo in place.

Devon crab linguine, cherry tomatoes, red chili, crab jus, £13.50

We were expecting ours to be glistening with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Instead, this Devon crab linguine came out looking rather flat.

And while it was a decent portion, with the linguine just over al dente, the crab itself, despite being mixed through well enough, just didn’t come through as we’d have liked.

In its place, the heat from the red chilli slices dominated proceedings.

Pan fried sea trout with new season potato, fennel & caper salad, £13.50

This pan fried sea trout was expertly cooked, falling apart effortlessly, and presented atop a bed of soft new potatoes.

But, it was the ultra-crispy skin, which offered that wonderful textural contrast, that we enjoyed the most, particularly in the way in which it combined with the saltiness of the capers and the chilli-sweetness of the sauce.

A very satisfying plate of food.

SIDES

Skin on fries, rosemary salt, £3.50

Nothing wrong with these addictively crispy-crunchy fries, that were well seasoned by the rosemary salt.

DESSERTS

Chocolate cake, mascarpone ice cream, marsala caramel, £6.50

Sprinkled with dark chocolate powder, the mascarpone ice cream was decent enough and sufficient in helping soften a rather dense, yet decadently strong chocolate cake.

But it was the saltiness from the biscuit bits, including the crunchiness of the duo of nuts, that helped, in conjunction with the caramel drizzle, cut through all that richness.

An adequate dessert, which was arguably the best of the lot had on the evening.

Selection of homemade ice creams & sorbets (usually 2 per scoop)

This assortment of ice creams and sorbets was quite fun, with the chocolate scoop dangerously luscious in taste, the coconut well made and satisfying, and the vanilla okay. The wafer was just there for show.

Vanilla bean cheesecake to share, seasonal fruits & coulis, £9.00

Not quite with this vanilla bean cheesecake, which is meant for sharing.

For one, its most important component, the cheese, was rather gelatinous in nature instead of being smooth and creamy.

The fruit topping, however, was undoubtedly premium in quality.

The fruit coolie had good strength of flavour, and managed to bring the entire dish together somewhat coherently.

Fresh mango & strawberry with raspberry sorbet, £6.50

The star of the show in this plate was that raspberry sorbet, let down only by its slightly icy texture.

Otherwise, the mango slices appeared to have been cut too close to the skin giving them a rather chewy texture.

If you’re watching your calories, then this would be the one to get.

THE ROAR
Rake's Café Bar
3.5 FTL's Roar
4 Pride's Roar (1 Roar)
Alcohol/ Pork?
  • YES/ YES
FSA HYGIENE RATING
Last Checked: 17/10/18
Facilities
  • CHILD SEATING
  • DISABLED FACILITIES
  • JUST EAT (BURGERS ONLY)
Summary
Rake's Café Bar is located right next door to Liverpool Street station, and is part of a hotel, making this place an extremely convenient stop off point if you're after some quality Halal food. And with a private room (called No.3) this would also be an ideal place for a business meeting, or if you're seeking after some privacy.

In any case, the place to dine in for us was The Parlour lounge given both its relaxed atmosphere and the alcohol bar being fairly low key in comparison to its larger counter part next door.

The food here varied mostly in between the good and the very good. The buttermilk chicken burger was probably the best dish had on the evening. And don't forget their mocktails - outstandingly good!

Stick with our menu recommendation below and don't forget to subsribe to our Youtube account before checking out our video review above.

Menu Recommendation

Drink - The Amuse Goose

Starter - Sesame Cauliflower Wings

Main - Buttermilk Chicken Burger

Dessert - Chocolate Cake

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SERVICE
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Rake’s Café Bar
40 Liverpool St, London EC2M 7QN.

T: +44 (0)20 7618 7007 | W: www.rakescafebar.co.uk | E: info@rakescafebar.com

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30-1:00 | Sat 10:00-00:00 | Sun 10:00-18:00

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