A City café that’s a cut above for quality, ambition, and the setting – a Grade I-listed Christopher Wren church.
NOTE: Café Below ia now open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday. The Time Out Food and Drink Editors
Anyone born within hearing range of St Mary-le-Bow’s bells is, by tradition, a bona fide Cockney. Christopher Wren’s church stands amid the City hubbub, and its crypt now houses this unpretentious café. It’s a breakfast and lunch spot only, with an open kitchen that works its way from bacon sarnies and french toast in the morning to a daily changing roster of substantial rustic grub – beef bourguignon, fish pie, jerk chicken – come midday.
For years this was a vegetarian café, and veggie classics with a twist are still offered. Feta, olive and yellow courgette were encased in a nicely wobbly quiche with a crisp top and an unfortunately soggy base; crunchy roast potatoes and a tangle of salad leaves rounded off the plate. Puddings could feature zesty coconut lime tart or divine chocolate chestnut cake. Square Mile suits and consumers from the One New Change shopping centre throng in for takeaways or to eat in the high-arched canteen.
The new East End makes an appearance with London Fields Brewery beers and Allpress coffee. In summer, ascend the weathered flagstone steps to take secular communion with a cuppa outdoors in the churchyard.