Ribeira – Regent’s Canal London N1

Ribeira

Coffee **** Food ***** Vibe ****

Ribeira is a funky, low-slung café restaurant bar kind of a set up, just a bargepole away from the rather lovely (but erratically operating) Towpath Café, and claims to be inspired by “travels through the waterways of South America”. It certainly has more of a distinctive style ethos going on than the pared-down boat shed décor of it’s next door neighbour and looks like the kind of place where you could happily take down a few caipirinhas of an evening whilst listening to some smooth, pony-tailed hombre plucking a guitar accompanied by a sultry guapa with a voice that sounds like she smokes eighty Fortuna a day and gargles with Mexican acerola cherry brandy.

On my recent visit I just stopped for breakfast after a long Sunday morning run, so no cane alcohol of smoky chicas for me, but instead a plate of damn fine Huevos Perico, a sloppy mound of scrambled eggs with tomatoes, red onion, coriander and sweetcorn, slapped on a slice of rye toast and topped with olive oil and salt.

eggs perico

It was a classy breakfast, way tastier than such a random collection of ingredients has any right to be and exactly what was required after a brisk ten miler. Ribeira seem to specialise in egg-based breakfast brunch style dishes (maybe that’s what they’re all chowing down on along those South American waterways?), slinging them alongside classics like hollandaise, as well as peas, chorizo and coca leaves¹.

If you turn up there in the evening there’s a good looking range of the familiar and weird:  pardon peppers,  tortilla, Peruvian and Argentinian specialities as well as a tasty sounding plate of chicharrones. And you just might catch Mr Pony Tail and his hot lady friend as they have music and suchlike when the sun goes down.

The macchiato I had was very good,

ribeira coffee

and while it was more towards a citrusy style than the richer biscuity type I prefer, it had a faint but not unpleasant taste of something that try as I might I couldn’t quite  pin down. Let me know if you can do better than I did.

But once again, for me it’s all about the setting,

ribeira

right by a particularly pretty and atmospheric stretch of Regent’s canal, where the shadows fall across the changeless and changing water, and the air smells like the hidden streams you waded in when you were a child.

¹Only kidding.

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