I can’t say that I’ve ever been to a gentleman’s club on the East Coast… But I suspect I wouldn’t be quite off the mark for imagining it similar to Ralph’s, London’s first dining destination from Ralph Lauren!
Cosily tucked away within Polo’s flagship store on Regent Street, the cafe-cum-bar is just as handsome as you’d expect of the quintessentially preppy-chic name behind it.
Think dark wood-panelled walls papered in a green billiard cloth, a shiny brass-topped bar and tables, banquettes kitted out in rich saddle leather and of course, heaps of equestrian-themed artworks and items!
It’s a fairly small and intimate space with seating for just 24.
There are a few additional spots by the bar too, which might just be a draw in itself given the elegant classics concocted alongside the signature cocktails created especially for London.
Seeing as my parents and I had popped in for a quick bite between errands (and a spot of shopping!) in the area, we stuck to coffee on this particular occasion – finding plenty to whet our whistle with the caffeinated varieties on offer, brewed with Ralph’s famous La Colombe blend.
As for the eats, the menu touts a small and casual selection of club-inspired fare, which is all-American in spirit (if not in portion size). Expect all-day-breakfast, soups, salads and of course, club sandwiches!
Between us, we tried the butternut squash soup, roasted veggie sandwich (with whipped ricotta and pesto) and a chopped salad featuring a crunchy medley of greens laced with a lemon-oregano dressing…
… It all made for a perfectly-pleasant, if not exemplary or overtly-inspired, lunch.
But dessert proved far more irresistible with Ralph’s brownie proving just the indulgent treat it promised to be, its rich denseness deftly offset by a dewy, almost moist, texture.
I couldn’t help but eye up the tall mugs of hot chocolate making their rounds too, with many of our (rather fashionable) fellow diners lingering over coffee or cocoa, long after their plates had been cleared… Somehow, I don’t doubt I’ll do the same the next time I visit, seeking shelter in the cosy warmth of this intimate-hideout in the heart of London.
Ralph’s Coffee Bar, 173 Regent St, Mayfair, London W1B 4JQ Regent St, London W1B 4JQ
If you fancy a read, here’s my round-up of other new London restaurants opened in 2017 (regularly updated with noteworthy openings).