The National Cafe
Suggest meeting a Londoner at one of the cafés in Trafalgar Square, and expect great ugly scowls of disapproval. Preface that with ‘Oliver Peyton’s eateries’ and command rather more kudos. Peyton is the restaurateur who resuscitated London’s art gallery restaurants: The Admiralty at Somerset House, The Wallace Restaurant at the Wallace Collection, the Grand Cafe and Shenkman Bar & Garden at the Royal Academy and here, The National Gallery’s National Cafe. Re-designed in 2017 by Paris-based Belgian designer Ramy Fischler, it’s all high ceilings and intimate booths in a muted palette.
The elegance certainly extends to the menu. Executive Chef Richard Oxley serves up ambrosial dishes (all ingredients sourced directly from artisan producers) like Cornish squid with puntarella and organic Sicilian lemon, and Galician bavette steak with datterino tomatoes and gremolata. Dessert is a selection of playful dishes like salted caramel and cinnamon doughnuts, doused in toffee sauce and a generous sifting of icing sugar. For those after a more refined experience, the Afternoon Tea is a delight. And, for those that can’t stay away from the galleries for long, there are self-service ‘Grab & Go’ treats on offer throughout the day from bakery Peyton & Byrne.