Loving La Vida local

Neil Littman continues his tour of the borough’s best restaurants with a trip to newly-opened La Vida Cafe and Bistro in Enfield Town

Salmon fillet with mash and samphire
Salmon fillet with mash and samphire

Welcome to my first eating-out review of the year after a bout of flu in December – which prevented me going anywhere for nearly three weeks in the run up to the festive season!

Since returning to health I’ve travelled into London a few times (between the rail strikes) and had some interesting meals, including a greasy spoon ‘caf’ in Soho that is probably one of the last of its kind, and a Malaysian street-food restaurant in Euston. What they had in common was good value for money, which is what we are all looking for at the moment and is something I want to focus on.

The problem venues with rising costs face is whether to raise prices or to serve smaller portions and risk losing customers. One local pub I visited recently seems to have done both – serving a meal that disappeared in three mouthfuls and charging me £15.50 for it!

More positively, at the end of last year the BBC published the results of a survey of London boroughs reporting how businesses had been affected by the cost-of-living crisis and the result for Enfield was a 4% increase in the number of restaurants (it may have included coffee shops as well).

One local restaurant that has opened recently is La Vida Café and Bistro in the centre of Enfield Town, at the location previously occupied by The Art Town. It fills an important gap as an all-day bistro offering an excellent breakfast menu as well as lunch and dinner.

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In early January myself and a companion visited La Vida on a rainy evening, when we had a great view from our table of Enfield Town’s glittering Christmas tree despite it being after the Twelfth Night. Arriving to find we were the only diners in the whole venue, I felt a bit foolish for reserving a table!

The restaurant is surprisingly large with a nice interior and an interesting choice of rock-orientated background music that wasn’t overly loud. Whatever La Vida lacked in atmosphere from its empty tables, it more than made up for with its customer service.

We ordered two gin and tonics and starters to share; salt and pepper squid and spinach and feta filo parcels. While the squid was a disappointment (it tasted like scampi), the main courses were a vast improvement in terms of both taste and portion sizes. We had lamb kofte with bean salad and harissa hummus and salmon fillet with mashed potato and sautéed samphire and asparagus.

We didn’t realise La Vida closed early on a Sunday so we had no time for dessert, but our bill still came to £61 plus service – not the cheapest in Enfield Town but enjoyable nonetheless.

La Vida Café and Bistro can be found at 29-30 The Town, Enfield EN2 6LU. It is open on weekdays from 8.30am until 10pm, Saturdays 8.45am until 10pm, and Sundays 8.45am until 8pm. To book:
020 8363 6584
Visit lavidabistroenfield.com

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