The Roundhouse Cafe provides enjoyable eating and drinking amidst a unique philanthropic centre for creativity, art and modern music. You’ll definitely be coming back.
Originally a train repair shed built in 1847, the Roundhouse has been absolutely transformed into a must-visit venue. A few years ago this building was dank, dark and literally falling apart. Nowadays, however, the circular area used to fix locomotives has been restructured and turned into an impressive round gig venue, whilst a staggering glass fronted extension houses the bars and Roundhouse Cafe. The interior is stylish, simple and contemporary and the restaurant has an excellent view of the comings and goings taking place. All in all, a stunning example of urban regeneration and modern architecture.
Unlike conventional restaurants the Roundhouse Cafe offers more than meals. It’s a small part of a much larger creative arts establishment which, on one hand, provides a source of free access to musical equipment for kids, and on the other, showcases highly acclaimed, thought-provoking musicians, artists and performers for adults. The service is friendly and the cafe is ideally placed to take in the comings and going of the venue as a whole, whilst keeping an eye on the never-ending summer rain through the building’s large glass front.
The menu makes a good attempt at reflecting the diverse, multi-cultural atmosphere of the venue as a whole. Plates feature a variety of English, Scottish, Italian, Mexican, French and Greek favourites and flavours, amongst others, sometimes unusually fused together but mostly to great effect.
Staff recommendation, Mango and Brie Quesadillas, at first sounds like a stomach churning overdose of style, but surprisingly the mix of subtle fruit with rich cheese filling is very appealing. Portions here are very satisfactory; the Tuscan pea and parmesan soup starter would certainly have been enough for a quick lunch. Furthermore, this very tasty bowl of thick, homemade and wholesome Tuscan peas was really first class.
More conventional plates, such as the grilled chicken Caesar salad, were a little drab in comparison to others - perhaps the chef should concentrate entirely on fusion cooking. Considering the delightful flavours of other food, the single lump of bland, well-cooked chicken, swallowed by a heap of (what were admittedly very healthy) salad leaves seemed a little lacklustre. Surely there is room for mango here somewhere?
During gigs and performances, the Roundhouse Cafe offers patrons six bars (apart from the restaurant) and a range of bottled and draught beers, wines and spirits. Considering the reasonable price of the food drinks turn out to be rather dear, particularly the wine. Beer and spirits cost about the same as London gig venues, but an average bottle of rouge will cost you on average £25.00 - the same price as a three-course meal for two! Sure there are cheaper options available, such as The Roundhouse Good Red Shiraz (at about £12.00, the cheapest on the menu) but even this seems a lot to pay for the basic house wine.
The Last Word
The Roundhouse Cafe serves creative, laid back and stylish meals, fairly priced, in a wonderfully eclectic and artistic environment. If you come here to see a band, play or show, there is simply no excuse for dining elsewhere. This place has pre-gig grub licked.