Breakfast at Tiffany’s & French Dining at London’s Vintage gem, Nineteen!
When the owner of Nineteen, Carol Charlton, invited me along to sample her sumptuous French dining and film event at her vintage inspired café in North-
West London, my answer was a resounding yes!
From the shabby chic décor, to the generous hosting, Nineteen is a rare gem to behold. Nestled a stone’s throw from Queens Park tube station in North-West London, tucked away on a delightfully cobbled row of coach-house mews, its an intimate yet unique dining experience that feels more like you’ve been invited to a family friend’s exquisitely decorated lounge. In fact, I think the label café does it injustice. It’s more of an artistic space and community hub, where you’ll find the door is always open for warming homemade cake and tea, served in delicate and ornate china. Delightful. It’s certainly a refreshing contrast to the hub of chains crowding our high-streets.
The evening kicks off with a glass of sparking wine to welcome poised guests. With familiar faces already reacquainted, Carol is buzzing around enthusiastically, creating a warm and homely atmosphere. Seated around large wooden tables, it would be rude not to get to know your neighbours. And when it’s bring your own booze, there’s always wine to be shared, which is of course an excellent bonus and conversation starter!
The entrée arrives, a simple plate of poached salmon, quails eggs and various crudités to wet the appetite and wash down with the sparkling wine. It’s accompanied by generous carvings of crusty baguette, to mop up ay leftovers. Simple, but very satisfying. After a brief digestive pause (and some more wine) the room darkens, with the anticipated announcement that the film is starting. Large doors offer up an ample space for projecting Audrey Hepburn in her full glory, looking wonderfully glamorous in her starring role for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hushed awes fill the room, with the odd giggle, it’s clearly a group favourite!
At an appropriate pause, around half way through the film, the lights come back on, timed with the arrival of our main course. Carol serves up well presented Coq au Vin dish, with tender chicken breast’s in a wine and cream sauce, served on sautéed new potato squares and with steamed green beans. The chicken is succulent, and the dish is balanced, in texture and flavour, with a generous amount of sauce, which gets readily mopped up with more baguette. The break is also a perfect opportunity to discuss the film so far; Audrey looking so fabulous, and what did happen to the blue-eyed starring hunk George Peppard? Some theory of death, six wives later, is eagerly shared around the table by one guest.
A conversation or two later, a desert of summer-fruit sorbet arrives on queue, with delicately stewed blackcurrants, and a chewy and sweet offering of home-baked flapjack. It’s refreshing, sweet, varied in texture, and cleans the palate well. Rounding off the evening’s indulgences very well indeed.
For future updates of and upcoming events at Carol’s Nineteen café, keep an eye on my newsfeed or do ‘like’ her Facebook page at the link below for regular updates. Her evenings are popular and get booked up in advance, don’t delay to grab a spot!