"Let these perky flavours seduce you"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Elegant, classic, perhaps even old fashioned to some; these are all words which could describe the National Gallery, London’s magnificent museum of 13th to 19th century Western art. There’s nothing outdated about the National Dining Rooms and the National Café however, the Gallery’s two eateries launched by Oliver Peyton in 2006, whose speciality is museum gastronomy (Peyton & Byrne also own the Wallace Restaurant, the Restaurant at the Royal Academy, the Café Bar at the ICA and the Orangery at Kew Gardens).
While the National Dining Rooms provide food throughout the day, the National Café opens till later in the evening, with a menu of perky European flavours. Take the super creamy hunk of burrata laid atop slices of salty prosciutto, with fresh-tasting grilled white peach as a counterpoint. The kedgeree, with chunks of boiled egg, is exquisitely creamy without overwhelming, thanks to the contrasting taste of smoked haddock and peas.
The home-made rabbit “sausage” is shaped into a giant meatball, and its warm herby flavour pairs deliciously with mashed potato and salted curly kale. The lentil and cashew nut veggie burger topped with halloumi is smothered in fiery salsa, and all the contents spill out of a very slim, grilled sourdough bun. The whole thing is piping hot and very satisfying.
Desserts are equally comforting: warm blackberries and plums layered with rich nutty crumble and vanilla ice cream, and the “caramelo fantastico”, which combines caramel over a layer of sponge with chopped nuts and maple syrup toasts.
Not tempted by pre-20th century art? Even so, the food may well seduce you. A three course meal with a bottle of house wine is £70.
Leila reviewed National Cafe on Tue 18 Sep 2012