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National Café

Restaurants, British Trafalgar Square
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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A Peyton and Byrne café and restaurant within the National Gallery.

Should anyone need an excuse – world-beating art collection aside – to visit the National Gallery, then having Peyton and Byrne’s name stamped all over the in-house café could very well be it. The space is split in two – one end a busy, canteen-style layout serving pies, tarts and sandwiches to the masses, the other a serene space split into a bar and this large dining area.

It’s naturally lit by huge windows, with blue-grey walls decorated by blank white pictures and patrolled by gliding, inconspicuous staff. All as expected so far, but hopes were soon dashed by the food. Asparagus and hollandaise was perfectly adequate, but a spring leek terrine was watery and bland beyond description – no amount of seasoning or accompanying hazelnut dressing could truly help.

The rose veal burger, too, needed something to lift it – a heavy dollop of garlic mayo was not it. Fish pie came nuclear hot, with a comical langoustine attempting to escape through the breadcrumb crust. It was too shallow to be considered a pie, and short on the advertised cod, monkfish and pollock for a satisfying filling. All style and very little substance then. A trip to the other end of the room, where you can see what you’re getting before buying, might be the cleverer, and more prudent, option after all.


By: Dave Faulkner



Address: East Wing
Trafalgar Square
Cross street: National Gallery
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross.
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £65
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am-10pm; Sat 9am-10pm; Sun 9am-5pm
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