The Barbican has almost as many food establishments as it has concert halls and galleries, so which to choose from.

As it happens, I was in the Barbican for the sci-fi exhibition, and while a full meal in a restaurant seemed overkill on the day, a snack in the cafe can’t be that bad. Can it?

The ground floor foyer is more a meeting and seating area, which often puts of displays of art, and seems to be a resting place for people armed with laptops making use of the free wi-fi service.

The cafe then is more of a side line to provide beverages to the laptop users.

I opted for a routine coffee, and in the absence of much else, a sausage in a bun, which it turned out was to be heated up while the coffee was made.

The coffee was barely 3/4 of a cup though, and a small cup at that. I only slightly object paying over the odds for a coffee in a cultural venue as at least you’re supporting the venue, but dear gods at least fill the cup up.

The roll was handed out on a paper plate, and I managed to snag the final paper napkin on the side table.

It was a rather dispiriting sight, and the taste no better. The bread was dry and crumbly, probably on purpose, but unappealing. The coffee average and uninspiring.

And it cost six quid. Unsurprisingly, the cafe is run by the company dominating venue cafes that I have come to loathe, Benugo.

Cost: £6.00 for a roll and coffee

Stars: 1 out of 5

Date: 30th July 2017

Summary: Avoid unless you are desperate, and even then, avoid.

Barbican Foyer Cafe


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  1. Fede says:

    Interesting. They should do better!!

    • Chris says:

      Its a shame as the price of the food appears to have risen and the quality dropped in a couple of the food outlets in the Barbican.
      The food issue is made all the more confusing as I was a member a year or two back and there was the offer of a food discount, but it didn’t appear to be available at all outlets.
      Thankfully there are still a few good food places outside the premises within a few minutes walk.

  2. harry says:

    “at least you’re supporting the venue”

    But I doubt if the venue actually gets anything significant from this. The bulk of that will probably go to line the pockets of the directors of the operating company, its unlikely much of it will be going to either the venue or the staff.

  3. Clive says:

    I agree that all of the bars and food places within the Barbican Centre are pretty unappealing, whereas a few years ago one or two were almost tolerable, for a distress purchase. The difference is that now the area around the Barbican has quite a few fast and slow food places which are much better, so it’s only necessary to walk a few hundred metres at most to find something decent.

  4. SteveP says:

    Years ago when I worked nearby the Barbican was a frequent lunch location. Cafeteria food (upstairs) was passable but in those days of cigarettes, black suits and beer most of the pubs around seemed to not really think lunchtime had anything to do with food. On a sunny day it’s nice to sit outside although the water feature appears to be doing science experiments at times

  5. Caroline Greenwell says:

    I got ripped off by Benugo in the Museum of London, never again

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