places to eat in museum and galleries

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  • Museums and art gallery cafés and restaurants are still mainly daytime affairs, but there are a few notable restaurants here which remain open in the evening. The best of these include the Saatchi Gallery’s Gallery Mess, the Blueprint Café,  the National Gallery (early Friday evenings only), the Wallace Collection (Fri, Sat only), and the V&A (Fri only).

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    • Photo for Gallery Mess, Saatchi Gallery

      Gallery Mess, Saatchi Gallery

      Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, Chelsea, SW3 4LY

      The so-called Gallery Mess is anything but. It’s a smart, very tidy and controlled brasserie that occupies the entrance area of the new Saatchi Gallery. There’s simple breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, but the day’s specials can be far more ambitious. Afternoon tea is served from 2.30 to 6pm at £10.50 for the full set. The bar, open in the evening, has also become a destination for people who love a good cocktail as much as those who are interested in contemporary Indian art. Read more

  • V&A

    Cromwell Rd, London, SW7 2RL

    The V&A Café remains largely untouched by modernity. The fabled trio of tea rooms - Morris, Gamble and Poynter - remain just a spangly modern chandelier or two different from how they were back in the mid-nineteenth century. Morris is serious-minded – almost sacral, while Gamble is lofty and light in Classical Revival style. But the cosy Poynter Room is our favourite, with its blue and white tiles and stained-glass fox. The food is freshly made daily. There’s the usual run of appetising hot and cold snacks with a great array of cakes. Expect to queue though. Read more

  • Natural History Museum

    Cromwell Rd, London, SW7 5BD

    There’s a wealth of options at the NHM – four, in fact. Though the key stop-off is the clamorous Central Hall Café, tucked behind the dinosaur’s tail and the main stairs at the back of the entrance hall. It doesn’t venture much beyond sarnies, cakes and fruit, but you get to eat them beneath Alfred Waterhouse’s tremendous double-height arches and stained glass, in a room that’s grand without becoming preachily off-putting. Honorable mention too for the quieter restaurant, just along the hall. It serves a short list of kid-friendly meals in a bright, fresh new room of soft green banquettes. Read more

  • Science Museum

    Exhibition Rd, London, SW7 2DD

    Both the caffs here are fresh, modern affairs, with Revolution – multi-coloured whoosh lines on the walls, blond wood tables and benches on the floor, sandwiches, fresh soup and cakes on the counters – getting most casual custom. Further back from the entrance, Deep Blue is a rather fiercely uplit café-restaurant, techno blue neon beneath, open to the grand hall of the Wellcome Wing above. It serves burgers, pasta and pizza. Children’s menus cost £5.50, a bottle of wine around £15. Read more

Museums and art gallery cafés and restaurants are still mainly daytime affairs, but there are a few notable restaurants here which remain open in the evening. The best of these include the Saatchi Gallery’s Gallery Mess, the Blueprint Café,  the National Gallery (early Friday evenings only), the Wallace Collection (Fri, Sat only), and the V&A (Fri only).Central | North | South | East | West

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