Cafe in the Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields – Trafalgar Square

Reviewed on February 24th, 2013 by Dina

A lovely Saturday afternoon visiting the National Gallery with my friend involved introducing her toddler to the wonderful painting of Whistlejacket. This huge oil on canvas painting of the young horse by George Stubbs is one of my favourites and always seems to impress me, no matter how many times I see it.

Following on from George Stubbs’ painting, we ventured onto see the beautiful Water-Lily Pond and other paintings by Monet. A visit to the National Gallery would not be complete if Monet’s paintings were not seen. We were lucky on this occasion as the National Gallery had two new acquisitions, Water Lillies, Setting Sun and The Japanese Bridge. Monet’s Impressionist paintings of his garden in Giverny are really special.

After our fun art filled afternoon, it was time to rest and go for a cup of tea. My friend suggested the nearby Cafe in the Crypt in St Martin-in-the-Fields. The cafe is below the church and can be accessed by the cylindrical pavilion entrance, just round the corner from the church.

Cafe in the Crypt is quite a striking cafe. The distinctive brick walls and arches make up this beautiful 18th century crypt. It is quite a large cafe and even when it is busy, there is a sort of peacefulness about it. This is helped by the soft lighting.

There is a selection of food on offer, all locally sourced where possible. Soup, hot food, sandwiches, salads, afternoon tea, hot puddings and cakes are all available. The hot food and the cakes are buffet style, but the thing that I liked was that it was served and not self service.

As we were here for tea, that is what we had. Although, I was tempted by the scone with clotted cream and jam. The pot of tea came as a little silver teapot with a jug of milk on the side. It was nice that the cups were more like the size of a mug!

Even though there is quite a lot of seating, the staff do make the effort to keep things clean. They are constantly cleaning and clearing up the tables, so that the cafe is well maintained.

To get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, escaping to the tranquil Cafe in the Crypt is perfect. This is a hidden gem in the capital! Cafe in the Crypt is also host to Jazz Nights on particular weeknights.

Cafe in the Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Squares Restaurant at The Royal Trafalgar – Trafalgar Square

Reviewed on September 12th, 2012 by Dina

Sometimes it’s just nice to take some time out for you and to treat yourself. That’s exactly what this day was for me; it was supposed to be an indulgent Afternoon Tea in central London.

Unfortunately, the Squares Restaurant just did not deliver on this occasion. The setting and decor were nice but the quality of the Afternoon Tea was a huge disappointment.

The finger sandwich selection was egg, ham and cheese and pickle. The bread was dry and it felt like the sandwiches had been made up hours before they were served.

Squares Afternoon TeaSquares InteriorSquares Tea

It just got worse from there with the next stage of the fruit scone. Again, the scone was dry and it had been sliced in a strange sloped way. I am not entirely sure if it was supposed to be like that or if it was a mistake. The clotted cream tasted odd with a very buttery taste. The jam was nothing special either.

Both the coffee and walnut cake and the chocolate cake were stale. The whole food part of the Afternoon Tea was of a poor standard.

The English Breakfast tea was served by the pot. It was teabag tea instead of loose tea.

The staff were friendly and the atmosphere was fairly relaxed. Squares really did not impress and it is not a place that I would return to, especially for a good Afternoon Tea.

Squares Restaurant, The Royal Trafalgar by Thistle, Whitcomb Street, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2H 7HG

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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