Our start to the night at Café Mode was an interesting one. Covent Garden had experienced a power cut and as I navigated my way through pitch black cobbled streets, I had doubts over whether we’d be eating here at all.
Hooray, the businesses of Endell Street weren’t affected by the cuts like many of the others surrounding Seven Dials, so we were all set. I visited this restaurant about a month ago and it was a quiet experience where my friend and I were the only people there, save for a couple beside us. So, feeling like we had our own personal dining room, we chatted for hours as the waiter threw in a free second glass of wine and gave us his full attention. We felt like VIPS.
This night was a different story. Funnily, we sat at the same table as last time (old habits die hard,) yet the surrounding tables were full.
I guessed the power cut in the surrounding streets had scuppered many diners’ plans, diverting them to this warm and brightly-coloured Italian haven. Or perhaps, they were regulars like us, who favour the laid-back dining here. Either way, it was a good sign.
If someone asked me for the best Italian in London, I probably wouldn’t say Café Mode. I’ll give it a lot of credit (and I plan to in this review) but it’s not fancy or creating any trends. It’s just simple, generously-portioned food.
The waiter happened to be the same one as last time. And while Café Mode’s service impressed me last time, the waiter seemed just as unflappable in a dining room full to the brim. He was attentive and didn’t get annoyed when the varied menu turned me into an indecisive rambler and I asked him to come back several times.
Eventually I composed myself and we ordered calamari and goats cheese and tomato bruschetta to start. The calamari wasn’t too chewy and the batter remained quite crunchy. The bruschetta was an indulgent combination of sweet tomato and creamy goats cheese with a light crunchy bread.
Last time we’d dined here, I’d gone for a fish option – and I didn’t regret it one bit. So this time, I decided to order a good old fashioned Italian favourite – Spaghetti Bolognese.
If I said I didn’t enjoy it I’d be lying because I finished the whole lot. It had a generous scattering of shaved parmesan, hints of parsley and nicely cooked al dente pasta with good seasoning.
All in all, Café Mode gets a thumbs up for honest, good value food, great service and unpretentious, laid back surrounds.
And although the waiter didn’t offer us a complimentary Limoncello as he did on our last visit, we did weaken for a crème caramel. It was devilishly sweet with a light and delicate custard and it was a great end to a lovely night.
Would we re-visit Café Mode? For sure. The food here goes against any expectations you may have from its simple interiors and like I say, it serves up honest, fuss-free Italian cuisine.
Café Mode, 57-59 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9AJ
170 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5PD