1. Scotch egg (£6.25)
We were lucky enough to catch the last of the autumn sunshine on a weekday lunchtime outside this popular Euston eatery. Just as well: the glass box interior, packed to the rafters, has a particularly loud acoustic.
Although our office is nearby, it was the first time we had lingered for any length of time in Regent’s Place, surprisingly holiday-like with its European design aesthetic. And while the sun kept dipping behind the cloud-nuzzling modern office blocks, when it did come out it was pleasingly clement.
Warmer still, however, was our Portuguese waiter, keen to recommend his menu highlights without being overbearing. His first shrewd tip? Why, a chorizo Scotch egg, with just the right amount of fire in its sausage, the bright orange runny yolk even better when dunked in delicately smoked paprika mayonnaise.
2. Heritage beetroot (£6.95)
Not familiar with the upmarket Drake & Morgan chain behind The Refinery? It was founded in South London in 2008. The moniker comes from Elizabethan explorers Sir Francis Drake and Captain Henry Morgan, the idea being that the brand “blazes new trails” (although arguably not quite as pioneering as their namesakes).
Still, since then they’ve opened an impressive nineteen venues across the capital: here as in others, effortless Scandi style runs throughout the one-floored space with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, polished natural timbers, reclaimed flooring and antique copper.
We pondered this collision of history as we gobbled another tasty small plate, pretty as a picture: chunkily sliced beetroot of various pink and purple hues, scattered on light-as-air whipped goat’s cheese, drizzled with salsa verde and toasted walnuts.
3. Cauliflower fettucine (£10.95)
Although we enjoyed our mains – they’ve just bagged a new head chef, Rodion Iniuse, in fact – a special of pan-fried plaice on root veg took second place after this classic Sicilian pasta dish. Fettucine (literally “little ribbons” in Italian) was armed with golden roasted florets of cauliflower, raisins, spinach and lemon, the dried fruit swollen with flavour, sun-dried tomatoes adding zingyness. A side of tenderstem broccoli came al dente with almonds, its healthy kick moderated by a wicked pool of butter.