Nestled in a quiet backstreet in Belgravia, Baker & Spice is a gourmet Mediterranean café and bakery that branched out to dinner service this September.
It has a generous outdoor dining space equipped with heaters and blankets to ward off the autumnal chill and a small indoor dining room with cosy booths and tables for intimate dinners. It has proven popular with brunch-goers and coffee-enthusiasts, so I was intrigued to see what dinner had in store.
The new evening menu, designed by Valencian chef Carlos Martinez, showcases flavours of the Mediterranean basin, with some quirky additions, such as an avocado scotch egg with guacamole. It turned up sitting in a nest of leaves, and as I cut through the batter it revealed a whole avocado where the meat would usually be, with a perfectly cooked poached egg nestled in the middle. I have many questions about how this was achieved but the result was excellent.
For my main I agonised over baked sea bass with lime herb salsa, and tuna steak with tomato shakshuka, before settling on slow cooked lamb shank with spicy ratatouille with a side of dauphinoise potatoes. The lamb was gorgeous, slipping like butter from the bone, but sadly the ratatouille underneath was cold. This was mitigated by a truly mesmerising dauphinoise, with each forkful melting on the tongue.
Desserts were fantastic, showcasing the baking prowess of the restaurant. The baked vanilla cheesecake was creamy but light and the panna cotta was indulgent with the intriguing hint of lemongrass to lift the taste.
I got the sense that Baker & Spice needs to work out some hiccups in the transition to evening service. Closing at 9pm felt restrictive, and when they stopped serving alcohol even earlier a group catching up over a bottle of wine had no choice but to leave. It wasn’t helped by the fact that they didn’t have most of the wines on the menu available, although I sense this may have been a supply issue.
All of this was rather in conflict with the laissez-faire style of Mediterranean dining, although, as they start serving breakfast from 7am, I suppose concessions must be made.
• To book a table go to bakerandspice.co.uk, call 0207 730 5524 or visit 54-56 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, SW1W 9PB