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National Café

Restaurants, British Trafalgar Square
2 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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
Do you own this business?

Users say (3)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

Came across the self-service part of the Peyton & Byrne café on a gallery visit and couldn't resist the tempation of the cake counter! At £4.50 a cake, they are not cheap. But there was a big selection, also catering for gluten and dairy intolerances. I shared an Orange polenta cake, and Lemon drizzle sponge with a friend, and they were both delicious! The polenta cake especially, was surprisingly soft, with a great citrus flavour. Just not worth the premium price...


I was lucky enough to bag tickets to the Stephen Harris event they organized and it was certainly one of the best meals that you could get in London, or UK for that matter. It is almost impossible to get a table at the Sportsman, so having Stephen come down to London to cook the same menu was extremely special. The staff at the National Cafe were attentive and service was great. I really like what they have done to the place in terms of the renovation, and tables were spread out nicely so you don't have to shout over the next table or overhear any conversations. I would certainly return for a standard meal here as well. The location is of course top-notch so there is no excuse not to come back!

Food is fine but paper plates? Seriously? No-option plastic cups and forks, Oliver Peyton is wreaking eco-havoc with this outfit. This sort of corner cutting is not on brand for the Gallery.

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