Archive for April 29th, 2010

upstairs dining room at the Luxe Cafe

Friday lunch with the girls.  Where to go that isn’t too crowded or too expensive, and oh, not too far from the office?

Cue The Luxe Spitalfields, not to be confused with the Galvin brothers-owned Cafe de Luxe, unhelpfully also in Spitalfields.

The Luxe has a casual cafe downstairs and a fancier dining room upstairs, and only the upstairs dining room accepts advance bookings.  So that’s where we ended up, at a table overlooking the Friday bustle of Spitalfields Market below. It felt just like eating at Roast, with its views of Borough Market.

For a sunny Friday, The Luxe was pretty empty, and I suspect that was due to the prices, which weren’t bad, but were a bit too much for a weekday lunch with friends.  The a la carte lunch menu prices starters at around £7-10, and mains mostly at £15-17.  At those prices, I wondered why, for just a little more money, I wasn’t eating at the excellent and nearby L’Anima or Galvin La Chapelle.

Each of us ordered only a main and tap water, along with a side salad of onions and tomatoes.  Our server gently recommended we order starters, which we declined, and then as a surprise, we were each served a “free” salad of fresh, crunchy greens with a generous dollop of tapenade.  I wondered what would have happened if we’d chosen to order salads – would we have each ended up with two salads and a main?

green salad with olive tapenade (free)

In any event, the green salad was lightly dressed and very good as green salads go.

ravioli of peas, morels, ricotta and chard (£15)

My main course of ravioli stuffed with peas, morels, ricotta and chard was enormous and very filling.  The ravioli weren’t bad, but they weren’t memorable except for their size.  My friends felt similarly about their mains (a pan-fried halibut for £18, and a smoked haddock and lobster mash for £17.50).

The three of us had a pleasant time and our servers were great about refilling tap water, but our bill for one main course each and a side salad of tomatoes and shallots (£5) totaled £22 a person, which struck me as too much money for what we ate.  I’d consider going back to the Luxe, but only on someone else’s dime.

PS – Having just looked up the Luxe on Urbanspoon before hitting “post,” I see I’m not the only one who gave a thumbs down to The Luxe.

The Luxe Spitalfields, 109 Commercial Street, E1 6BG; 0207 101 1751;  closest Tube stop:  Liverpool Street Station
Luxe on Urbanspoon

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