England has a love affair with the baked potato. Sorry, I meant jacket potato. Forget serving this humble starch as a side dish, baked potatoes (with any variety of topping you could imagine) are frequently served as lunchtime fare in the UK.
Which explains how an entire restaurant has opened that serves only baked potatoes.
I admit, I was dubious.
Don't get me wrong, I love the tuber and all its various incarnations (roasted, scalloped, fried, the list is endless...), but I wasn't sure just how bowled over I was going to be by a baked potato lunch, despite the quirky website's (their slogan is "Eat Me"....erm, quaint?) promise of "serious food envy".
It's a small restaurant, tucked away in a small storefront in the Covent Garden area. You're presented with a number of "fillers" for your chosen baked potato (a sweet potato option is also available if you want to be *really* fancy). These range from your bog standard butter and salt to more elaborate options of goat cheese and lentil stew (which I sampled).
And, I have to say, I was impressed. For about 4 pounds, you have a full lunch (and I mean *full*). If elect to eat in, you also have the chance to visit their downstairs eating area which features fun Tiffany-esque lamps on each of the tables and an eclectic if fun soundtrack. It wasn't too busy when we went, but we were having a late lunch around 2pm.
All in all, it was a great cheap way to grab a weekday lunch in central London. The menu may be a tad small, but instead of going the "salad bar" route where you'd pick each individual topping yourself, the owners have taken time to find good and complex combinations of flavors that highlight the simple potato, elevating it to fun, trendy, but affordable cuisine. Thumbs up.