Run by the Benugo chain – who run a few of the concessions on the South Bank, among other places – this café attached to Westminster Abbey still has a whiff of the corporate and a slight ‘museum café’ feel to it, but it’s one of the company’s better London operations. The upper floor is appealing, with the abbey just visible through the long atrium windows, and light simple decor; the windowless lower floor is less appealing.
The menu is British-leaning, though not to the point of dullness. The most British dish, so to speak, simple steak and ale stew, was served with a slice of bread for just under a tenner – like wartime rationing fare. More interesting are dishes such as roast aubergine with tahini cream, pumpkin seed, chilli and fresh pomegranate, though sometimes the kitchen seems to get carried away: cold roasted parsnips in a salad is never a good idea. The puddings are hearty fare: hot sticky toffee pudding, or apple and blackberry crumble, say.
Cellarium is useful in an area that’s a desert for decent places to eat, and because it’s relatively hidden away, it doesn’t suffer from the tourist hordes of most other cafés nearby.