Thursday, 24 July 2014

Dinner at Happenstance



Right on the doorstep of the majestic St Paul's Cathedral is a very different but equally impressive destination: The Happenstance. The restaurant's interior is a mix of straight lines and industrial touches, mixed with organic materials and fresh pots of herbs on all the tables, which creates an eclectic yet inviting atmosphere.

Both our waiter and the mixologist on the night we visited were very knowledgeable as we asked them about the wide selection of food and cocktail items on the menu. In fact, the latter even went so far as to create a special cocktail based on the flavour preferences of my friend, which she was delighted with.


The choice of our starter was an easy one as it was the dish that was both recommended by our server and the one that instantly popped out at us from the menu: the warm grilled Mediterranean flatbread with hummus, baba ganoush and roasted marinated vegetables.

This gorgeous and very generous platter was perfect for sharing with two, or even three people. The vegetables were cooked to al dente perfection and were matched wonderfully with the hummus and baba ganoush (an eggplant, onion and tomato-based dip) it was served with. Both my friend and I loved this dish, the flavours of which instantly swept us away to warmer shores, and could've happily eaten it all night long.


Picking my main course was a more difficult decision as there were plenty of tasty items on the menu that caught my eye. In the end I once again trusted the recommendation of the waitress and chose the chicken in a basket with chips - though I opted to swap my ordinary chips for the more interestingly sounding cowboy fries with honey, chilli & garlic from the side menu.

When my chicken arrived, I had to stop myself from going "awww" as it looked so cute in its own little basket. It was unfortunately served with normal chips, rather than the cowboy fries I'd ordered with it, but upon seeing the size of what was supposed to be a small chicken I realised that I'd probably eat very little of the chips anyway so this wasn't an issue.

The meat was beautifully succulent, practically falling off the bone as I was attempting to eat it delicately with my knife and fork. Once again, as with the starter, it was a very generous portion and try as I might I wasn't able to finish my main - even though I really liked it.


My friend did a better job with her halloumi and hummus burger with red pepper, roast mushroom & tomato chutney (and most of my chips too, I might add). All the elements of her burger were cooked and seasoned very well and she loved the tasty combination of the halloumi with the peppers in particular.

She also ordered a side of potato and sweet potato wedges and she was particularly enthusiastic about the sweet potato ones, which were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. The presentation of all parts of the meal was very fun and reminiscent of an upmarket diner, which suited the dishes we had ordered very well.


After two very large courses already both myself and my guest were quite satisfied at this stage, but as soon as our eyes fell on the chocolate brownie with vanilla bean ice cream on the desserts menu we knew we had to have a taster. Sharing one dessert and savouring it in very small bites was the perfect way to consume this gorgeously crunchy on the outside and melt-in-the-mouth on the inside cocoa treat. It provided a wonderful finish to what had been an excellent meal.

With a playfully eclectic atmosphere and excellent service, this is definitely an establishment we'll be returning to soon. If only to once more have the opportunity to taste the beautiful Mediterranean flatbread with hummus, baba ganoush and roasted marinated vegetables (though a second time around we'd probably keep it all for ourselves, rather than share it!).

Happenstance, 1 Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7AA.

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