L’ETO caffe has one of those window displays that makes you stop and gawk, even in the pouring rain. In fact, especially in the pouring rain, as behind the towers of pastries, cakes and tarts that adorn it, is a warmly lit cafe that’s very inviting and cosy. L’ETO on Kings Road is one of two cafes owned by the same group, the other being the original located on Wardour Street, Soho. They both do a bit of everything including cakes, salads and full meals for either takeaway, delivery or eat in.
On accepting the forthcoming calory intake and stepping into the Kings Road branch, it all get’s a little confusing. The front of the cafe is for passers by to grab and take-away one of the beautiful sweet treats or an Ottolenghi style salad, all big platters and bright colours and at the back is a small seating area. Me and my friend shuffled through the take-away crowd offering a few polite excuse me’s on the way and at the back, waited for 1o minutes before getting seated. 15 minutes later we got a menu, another 1o after we got drinks and then weirdly, after ordering two courses we got just over half way through our starters and our mains turned up. It was like the place was made to be a cafe and take away but the restaurant element just wasn’t quite working.The food worked out better. Mussels in a white wine sauce was so ridiculously generous that it could have fed two as a light lunch and the sauce was really flavourful, heavy on both sweet garlic and parsley. Crab and avocado salad was made special by a delicious spicy thai dressing and both of the pastas we had for our mains had that lovely bouncy texture that hinted like they were homemade. But each dish, one ravioli with butternut squash and sage butter and the other, tortellini filled with duck, chestnuts and cranberries needed more seasoning to bring them to life and were a little bland.The cakes were definately the highlight of the meal. A signature honey cake of 6 layers of sponge dipped in honey and filled with a sweetened sour cream was incredibly light and slightly savoury and perfect with a strong espresso and a chocolate cheesecake was rich and sneakily spiked with lovely cherry liquor.Prices are on the expensive side with starters ranging between £6-12 and mains £17-25 which although is in line with the area, is slightly too much for what we had. I’ll definately head back for coffee and cake but continue my hunt for somewhere good value to eat in Kensington.
I was a guest at L’Eto Caffe.