Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“Full of lawyers getting a health fix” – a “busy”, all-day Temple haunt where “they care about the details, reflecting their demanding customers!”; “wonderful fresh ingredients” from a “menu that changes daily”, plus superior coffee and “excellent cakes”.
“Queues of affluent lawyers” attest to the quality of the “first-class” sandwiches – and a “good selection of hot dishes” too – at this cramped all-day operation, by the Temple.
“Packed out with barristers from the nearby Temple” – a cramped all-day canteen serving “fresh, simple dishes from high-quality ingredients” (not least “the best sarnies in the City”, plus “a couple of hot options” at lunchtime); “great coffee” too.
Is it any surprise that London can baffle visitors? On the one hand, the US foodie-bible Gourmet proclaims it 'the best place on the planet to eat right now'. But, on the other, it's still nigh on impossible to find a really delicious and inexpensive lunch (unless you 'go Indian', 'go Chinese', etc).
Part of the problem is that British dishes are very much hostage to the quality and freshness of ingredients, and food with character and provenance is still remarkably hard to find. Gourmet's best dish was, yes, a cheese sandwich - made with Neal's Yard cheddar and pain PoilÃ¢ne (from Belgravia). But they had to go to Borough Market to find it.
Ex-barrister Frances Hilliard and her husband live down Waterloo way, and they've followed the rise of Borough Market pretty much from its beginning. She has brought a little of its spirit- as well as some of its produce - to her new café take-away by the side gate of the Temple, which is already pretty much mobbed most lunchtimes.
The attraction is a short menu with just one hot dish. On the day we visited, it was slow roast pork belly (from Ginger Pig, as it turns out) with winter chard and a hint of chilli. It was superb. Tarts, made on the premises, are also a highlight. Bread comes from the Exeter Street Bakery. Coffee is excellent.
The downsides are those you might expect. You have to queue (if not for long, on our visit). The seating is cramped (though the setting is quite airy). Menu choice is limited and portions are not large. But, if you can have a delicious light lunch for around £15, who's going to complain? If every London corner has a place like this, we really would live in the planet's best foodie city.
26a Tudor St, London, EC4Y 0AY
all day 8.30 am - 6 pm
Last orders: 5.30 pm