Tucked away near bustling Oxford Circus, the Photographers’ Gallery café is the ideal hideaway from the shopping mile's stressful business. There's no music in the quiet space. Instead, a video wall shows a rotating selection of photographs, depicting serene Scandinavian landscapes and colourful impressionistic patterns.
Run by Lina Stores (the Italian deli in Soho), the gallery café serves a selection of salads, sandwiches, tortillas and cakes. A pancetta tortilla was firm, the cured meat's saltiness nicely pairing with the eggy potato base. The salads on offer are no rabbit food: a couscous salad was dotted with chickpeas, tomatoes and courgettes, while the bean salad was mixed with big chunks of roasted vegetables. The best salad was a rice and courgette mix, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese and offering a refreshing minty kick.
It's worth leaving some space for the excellent cakes: amaretti brownies were crusty on the outside, yet gooey in the centre and tasted strongly of bitter almonds. Equally good was a blueberry and vanilla muffin which burst with fresh blueberries.
It may not be an obvious destination, but to many this little café may prove to be a welcome retreat from a busy shopping trip.