This is the biggest and most attractive of the thriving Fernandez & Wells mini-chain: four impressive rooms in the east wing of Somerset House, astutely set up for all-day grazing. Oversized geometric paintings by British artist David Tremlett occupy the full extent of the walls, while a long, cool bar made of York stone runs through the middle of the main café area. F&W’s menu flits easily between breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Meat is central: the ‘ham room’ is set up for carving slices of lomito ibérico, jamón de lampiño, or wild fennel Tuscan salami, while fat ham legs hang artfully from the wall (vegetarians, we should add, are still well catered for). Breakfast was simple and effective: two fried eggs sprinkled with za’atar, miniature morcilla sausages and two pieces of toasted sourdough. While the pain au chocolate was a little dry, a Portuguese pastel de nata had a rich custard filling and a sturdy yet flaky base.
Sandwiches overflow with fillings, including grilled chorizo and roasted pepper ciabatta, or aubergine, goat’s cheese and pesto in a brioche bun, but you’d be foolish to miss out on the cracking sausage roll, which had a coarse-ground filling and a hint of harissa.