Has it really been more than six years since Aaron and Rory Philipson opened The Blue Bottle Cafe in Hopewell?
Apparently so, and for a place that opened strongly to very positive reviews, giving them little time to work any kinks out, they have maintained their momentum surprisingly well.
Call it focus. They are carefully tuned to their customers’ tastes, the seasons, and the importance of consistency. With Aaron in charge of the kitchen, and Rory, the pastry chef of the pair, managing the front of the house (with aplomb I’ve seen grow over the years), they have comfortably settled in as one of Hopewell’s most popular dining establishments. And with all the new places coming online in Hopewell, I expect their good run to continue, based on my delicious dinner there with my niece the other night.
It seemed they knew everyone who walked in the door, so repeat diners are a given. The pretty collection of blue bottles on display has grown considerably since my last visit, largely due to the generosity of well-traveled patrons who can’t resist donating their finds to the decor.
I enjoyed the “Mock Ravioli” (celeriac, fava, morels) pictured at top while my niece had spinach salad, dusted with finely grated hard-boiled egg. For entrées, she had the gnocchi (a signature dish), this season made with goat cheese and served with English peas and broccoli (full menu descriptions are on the website). I had the hangar steak (middle photo) with parsnip/potato cake (the wedge at 10 o’clock), asparagus, plus the sous vide egg you see on the left – that was a creamy-dreamy affair, the slightly runny egg mixed with the hollandaise…steak and eggs!
For dessert we shared the profiteroles filled with chocolate/hazlenut ice cream and topped with two sauces, one cocoa, one hot chocolate.
And on the side, Rory placed two pillowy little yeast-risen donuts (something she’s been tinkering with), filled with wonderfully tart lemon curd. Steak and eggs and donuts – oh my!