Fernandez & Wells

Restaurants, Spanish Temple
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
4 Love It
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Fernandez & Wells
Tricia de Courcy Ling

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.

 

Posted:

Venue name: Fernandez & Wells
Contact:
Address: East Wing
Strand
London
WC2R 1LA
Cross street: Somerset House
Opening hours: Open 8am-10pm Mon-Fri; 10am-10pm Sat; 10am-8pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Temple
Price: Tapas £5-£21
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Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|6
1 person listening
Sarah G
Tastemaker

I've been to F&W a few times recently as I have started working in the area. One the upside I have discovered they offer me a discount because of my employer! Yay.


The place has a lovely vibe - it is open, light and airy - it really fits with the Somerset House. I've had breakfast - an omelette with peppers and a snack - some sort of cheesy toast. It's the sort of place where you order at the counter and carry your own drinks. Given it is so sprawling and not that cheap it would be improved if they operated table service.


The food selection is interesting and slightly unusual but both times I have struggled to find a healthy but tasty option but what I ate was enjoyable. The thing I found very irking both times is that whilst you get a lovely great pot of tea it gets cold very quickly. I think this is to do with the light, airy, open architecture. I dont know what they can do about it but it would put me off ordering tea again!


All in all the sort of place it's worth remembering is there as it's nice to go somewhere that isn't one of the big chains and to have a  more unusual menu.

Alexandra L
Tastemaker

Tucked away in one of the wings of the cavernous & labyrinthine Somerset House is Fernandez & Wells, a perfect place for refuelling on a rainy Sunday afternoon after wandering around the brilliant ‘Hair’ exhibition. There are multiple places to eat within the estate itself but this ticks so many boxes, I think I’ll find myself returning to it again and again. T


he menu is lovely – extensive without being overwhelming and offering a nice choice of meats, cheese, eggs, toasties & tapas – and prices are super reasonable given the location. Service is sincere & friendly and dishes arrive quickly but with the comforting knowledge – thanks to the fragrance of garlic and the sound of sizzling hot plates on the air – that everything has been made to order and not reheated out the back into a sad version of its original state.

Taktouka – a variation on the ever popular Shakshuka – was absolutely gorgeous; warming and ripe with the flavours of sunshine in pepper & tomato form, it came topped with a perfectly poached egg and sourdough toast and I devoured it, pausing only to blissfully lick spatters of sauce off my fingers. Omelettes might not appear the sexiest of foods but the Cheese & Jambon Noir de Bigorre version was a triumph, cooked to perfection and stuffed with oozing cheese, 24 month old aged ham and delicate leeks. Sourdough topped with cold egg mayonnaise and warm black pudding was an unusual combination and the only dish ordered that was met with a ‘huh, I wasn’t expecting that’ as opposed to a ‘oh god it’s so good I wanna eat it again immediately!’ however at less than £10 for each of these dishes, they were substantial portions for filling hungry bellies and proved themselves to be excellent value.

The place filled up quickly during our visit and when you arrive, don’t be deceived by all the front room tables being full – there are 3 other large spaces behind it for you to settle down in. Overflowing displays of baked goods by the front tills looked splendid and just the thing to accompany one of the many teas, coffees & wines on offer. Vast canvasses dot the walls while the space itself is airy, light & ideal for a lazy catch-up with friends. In a city full of over-priced spots charging a fortune for poor food and scowling service, this little spot is a delight.

Andy B

I was surprised to read unfavourable reviews of this Cafe, having just had an enjoyable experience there this morning. The setting alone (nestled in a corner of Somerset House) warrants a visit, especially now with the Christmas ice rink going up. I haven't tried the food, however I think Fernandez & Wells offers some of the best tasting coffee London has to offer so grab a stool by one of the large, panoramic windows and enjoy watching the world go by (and ice skaters falling over.)

Sarah (kukkiiandkoppee)
Tastemaker

The flat white was sub-par: flat in flavour only and very frothy. The tables and floors are filthy and the staff seemed uninterested in filling  up the water jugs. I didn't get a chance to try the food; for me the only thing it was good for was a seat to rest my feet.

Cristina F

food was crap & the bar staff don't have a clue how to make a proper meat plate for god's sake! it took forever to get our meals. I've been several times over the years & the last time i went is the last time i'll ever go again.