The main dining room of Hereford Road is down the stairs, a well beneath a rounded skylight. Above us grow grasses and the sun is clear and warm. Here, capacious maroon booths, comfortable for four, ample for two as we sprawl our belongings across their lengths. Without the wash of sun, the room looks like it would be dim, despite its white walls. It's hard for me to picture either way.
The three course lunch special is £15.50. I have a refreshing salad, with large chunks of beetroot tumbled up with sorrel and tender hard-boiled eggs. d_aulnoy is generous and shares a full half of her much-needed salt intake, in the form of cod roe, delicate and light, on a more of the restaurant's good bread. (It arrived, untoasted, with butter, earlier.) Slices of onglet are nearly meltingly tender and buttery. The chips are crunchy and light, just as I like them, with a lemony aioli as accompaniament. The menu is literal: had we wanted additional vegetables, it would have required ordering sides.
The waitress is apologetic - no more strawberries, so I have a non-traditional Eton mess with raspberries, the sticky crushed meringue and fruit giving my stomach the illusion of lightness and very real energy. Service is pleasant and when we need it. The food refines on classics with minor experimentations along its edges. I wonder what dinner would be like there, lighting and all?
Afterward, we explore vintage clothing, Paul A. Young's lastest truffle innovations, and the tranquility of London streets in the middle of a World Cup football game when England is playing. Later, the cashier at a supermarket tells me of 3:30; the cashiers were all at their posts, but there was not a customer in sight.