Baity Kitchen's Thanassis Stefanidis with Joudie Kalla Anagnou and friend
When I heard another café was opening in Walton Street my initial thought was “Do we really need another place for the ladies who lunch?” here in Knightsbridge. I’ve long been of the belief that what we really are missing is a good Chinese restaurant and useful shops like ironmongers and greengrocers. I’d even quite like to see a Poundland open opposite Harrods. Who doesn’t like a bargain?
Joudie Kalla Anagnou’s recently opened venture, however, challenged my perception of the Chelsea tractor driving lady’s favourite lunching dens.
Unlike the other cafés to have opened in Walton Street and Beauchamp Place in recent years, the Baity Kitchen offers fresh, wholesome food at a reasonable price. This is café food that is cooked on the premises. The menu changes daily but the quality is consistently excellent.
Inspired by her Middle Eastern origins, Joudie has created a casual eatery where family recipes are given a modern twist.
Joudie Kalla Anagnou
Talented Joudie has an impressive pedigree in catering having worked for Gordon Ramsay and at Daphne’s and Papillon. As well as being a truly hands-on co-owner at Baity Kitchen, she somehow also finds the time to run a catering operation, teaches cooking classes for children and writes the blog http://www.moodfoodblog.com
My favourite here has to be the penne arrabbiata. It is simply the best I’ve had in London and believe me, I’ve tried many. Though Joudie continually suggests other options to me, I’d recommend this dish to anyone. With pastas, rice dishes, salad, fish and meat, there is plenty of choice be you in search of something light or something substantial. Expect lots of olives, oregano, cumin, tahini and aubergines – perfect for a fine summer’s day.
Another reason the Baity Kitchen wins my custom over other café premises in the area is that it serves wine – and good wine at that. Drink may be a recurring theme in my writings but I’m very happy to admit that I like a chilled glass of wine with a meal. The house rosé is especially worth trying. For those on the wagon, though, there is also a wide range of teas, coffees and soft drinks.
The décor is basic yet welcoming. Concrete floors give the premises a somewhat urban feel but with patio doors open onto a charming garden brimming with greenery the style is balanced. Zinc topped tables, including a large communal one, with aquamarine chairs complete the look.
The Baity Kitchen Garden
Another attraction is that Joudie is a fantastic host. When the Baity Kitchen first opened they did not yet have an ice machine and so when I dined there with an American friend who always likes ice with her wine, I was somewhat dreading a “situation.” Most restaurateurs sadly would simply have shrugged their shoulders and said “sorry, can’t help.” Joudie didn’t. She dashed across the road to a friendly neighbouring bar. Hey presto, ice was served. An ice machine in situ thankfully now saves Joudie those trips.
“Baity” means “my home” in Arabic and it’s this kind of touch that really makes the Baity Kitchen a home from home for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Baity Kitchen, 172 Walton Street, London, SW3 2JL. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7584 6866. Website: http://www.baitykitchen.com
Opening times: Monday to Saturday: 8am to 9pm. Sunday: 9am to 8pm.
Follow Baity Kitchen on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/baitykitchen