Rake’s Café Bar – Liverpool St., LondonHALAL STATUS Halal lamb & chicken • Alcohol served
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.
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.
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.
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!
This Shakshuka was a new addition to the breakfast menu which we were keen to try.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nothing wrong with these addictively crispy-crunchy fries, that were well seasoned by the rosemary salt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- YES/ YES
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- JUST EAT (BURGERS ONLY)
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!
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