National Gallery Café, National Gallery - London Restaurant Reviews | Hardens
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National Gallery Café, National Gallery

International Restaurant in London

National Gallery Café, National Gallery, East Wing, Trafalgar Sq, London, WC2N 5DN
020 7747 5942    Website   
National Gallery Café, National Gallery on the map
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2016 Survey Result
Overall Value
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
2015 Review: For a “convenient” central location, an older fan base tip the “comfortable banquettes” of this tranquil haunt, right on Trafalgar Square; “disengaged” service, though, leaves some reporters decidedly disenchanted.
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Features
Private Rooms Yes30
Last Orders 11 pm, Sun 6 pm
The Editors Review

It's nearly 20 years since the V&A famously promoted its restaurant under the strap-line 'An ace caff with quite a nice museum attached'. Sadly, though, that the dining revolution of the intervening time too often passed over arts-venue catering. So despite 'name' backing from Oliver Peyton, we approached this new section of the National Gallery - which boasts its own entrance on St Martin's Lane, and opening till 11pm - with no great expectations.


Initial impressions are excellent though. David Collins - the UK's leading name in restaurant design - has created a relaxing, solidly panelled space that feels like it has always been there. The style is informal (there's a self-service section to the side). But it's yet another nail in the coffin for the traditionally held notion that there's nowhere nice to eat near Trafalgar Square.


The menu is huge and simple, in grand Continental-café style, and with an array of breakfasting options available till noon. Snackier options predominate such as salads, a burger, tortilla or macaroni. Our selection included one of a handful of more ambitious dishes - duck confit with lentils. It was nothing fancy but hard to fault, and enjoyable fuel on a cold day. Amongst puds, quality ices are a particular feature, and 'The National Catastrophe' - a particularly calorific sundae-like creation - continued an enjoyable if not exceptional theme to the meal.


Service teetered between being well-meaning and a little amateurish. But though one might hesitate to use the space for client-entertaining, my dining companion - the MD of an armoured vehicle manufacturer on his way to meet the MOD - professed himself well-satisfied!


All-in-all this is certainly an ace-looking café with a museum attached. For a civilised central rendezvous, it's well worth bearing in mind.


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