The National Gallery’s restaurant has been given a new lick of paint.
And given how high the bar for painted things is around there, they’ve done a solid job.
Because the lofty-ceilinged, Georgian-built space nestled into an eastern wing of the gallery has been transformed into a futuristic-yet-somehow-also-retro oasis. The expansive walls have received a slick of dove grey, punctuated by chairs & banquettes in a pop of steel tones and dusky pink, while the bar area sports a new pistachio hue, with counter seating overlooking an illuminated, marble-backed bar. Separating the two areas, meanwhile, are dividers in the form of radiant panels suspended between wooden posts, printed with sections of cloud-dotted sky from paintings in the collection.
The food meanwhile, still under the remit of Peyton and Byrne, has also seen a reshuffle with a new collaboration between Mr. Peyton himself and executive chef Richard Oxley. On their menu you’ll find starters like creamy burrata with fennel & radish; duck & pistachio terrines with blood orange salsa; and Devonshire crab-stuffed ravioli with shrimp butter & cockles. The mains continue the seasonal ethos with artichoke gnocchi & chantarelle mushrooms; and poached Cornish brill served with rainbow chard – and then there’s the chips, which arrive with an unapologetically garlicky sauce and should be ordered with anything and everything.
Up at the bar, you can also tuck into small plates of spiced monkfish cheeks, and mushroom and truffle arancini (fried rice balls; life-changing) as you sip on bespoke botanical cocktails like the Damson & Violette margarita.
Essentially, it’s an ideal spot to make a good first impression…
NOTE: The National Café is now open for daily for breakfast through to dinner (it closes early on Sundays at 5pm). You can reserve a table online HERE.
Like reading about the latest openings? Check our guide to London’s recently opened restaurants.