The venue has two cafes, one small tea&cake venue at the end of the main tour around the building, and another slightly grander affair right next to the main entrance.

It’s almost too easy to miss the larger cafe on the way out, for despite being next to the exit, and the cloakroom it doesn’t really protrude into the foyer in a way that might make it more noticeable. That it also comes after most people might have stopped at the smaller cafe on the lower floors probably doesn’t help in drumming up passing trade.

The cafe, as it’s not really a restaurant, has the look of a large kitchen with school canteen seating, but really is just a cleaned up cafe. A range of toasted sandwiches and cakes dominate the offering which is certainly aimed at the short visit.

I opted for the Andalucian, a vaguely Spanish sounding sandwich which naturally had to come with Chorizo, because nothing says Spain more than a couple of slices of that overwhelmingly popular sausage.

The cakes looked like generic mass production offerings with artisan price tags. I avoided them, as I usually do anyway. Being asked to pay more than three quid for a small slice of factory cake offends the sensibilities.

The toasted sandwich itself though was actually fairly nice. Toasted, but not to the point of being incinerated where the toast overwhelms the flavours.

However the tomatoes dominated and the chicken might as well have not existed had it not been for its physical texture. It was pleasant enough, light and not too heavy for a snack, but lacking the complexity of flavours that I had expected.

The coffee though. I am actually fairly keen on mild coffee, but this was mild to the point of being homeopathic. I think a coffee bean may have once glanced at its direction at some point, but that was about all that could be discerned. A fleeting memory of caffeine swallowed up in a luke-warm milky fluid.

It managed to wash away the flavours of the sandwich into a bland milky gloop.

Being served in a take-away paper cup did not improve matters.

Overall, it all seemed just too little and too insipid.


Cost: £8.45 for sandwich and coffee.

Stars: 1 out of 5

Date: 6th July 2014

Summary: Overpriced and bland food makes for a poor end to a visit to one of London’s best museums.

Entrance Hall Café


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  1. louise says:

    Is it still run by a franchise, I can’t remember the name? I always prefer the cafe and restaurant at the museum of London docklands. Good coffee and comfy chairs in the cafe, and excellent food in rum and sugar next door. As a family, their habit of giving free children’s meals at weekends, and our habit of drinking tap water with meals, makes it a very cheap lunch. The homemade burgers were just like my Mum used to make.

  2. Nicholas A says:

    Actually, there is a restaurant/cafe – you need to exit the main entrance and turn right – going past the Pegasus statue and across the walkway. There are multiple problems with the MoL’s entrances and the use of space on the rotunda, but they are not easily resolved!

    But I agree that the Benigo franchise at the London Wall site isn’t great – the cafe at the Docklands site is better. If you want refreshment at the London Wall site, walk down towards St Puls’s tube, and go to one of the many coffee shops on Cheapside. There’s also a Pret on the roundabout itself.

    But frankly, the really urgent issue on the museum catering front is the fact that English Heritage have just sacked Comapny of Cooks at Kenwook, and installed Sercy.

  3. Gillian Lawrence says:

    Laughing out loud especially about the homeopathic coffee. And the paying out for a slice of caff cake. Love it. You’re saying it like it is. Very enjoyable read and an honest review.

  4. Martin says:

    As Nicholas says, the. MoL cafe is a branch of Benugo. They also run the restaurants at quite a few other big London museums, including the three big ones at South Ken, and the British Museum – so you can probably expect some variations on a theme.

    I’m reliably informed that their cakes are made in their own central bakery, so I’m not sure if it’s fair to call them generic. Mass produced, I’ll let you have 🙂

  5. LadyBracknell says:

    Homeopathic coffee. A bit like ‘whiskey flavoured’ anything, which translate to the bottle was opened and stood in the same room as the product.

    When I was earning a wage, food in a museum cafe was something I did with no thought of cost (well within reason). These days I find myself looking for the nearest sandwich shop or mini supermarket and absolutely resent paying over £3 for a piece of cake that would be cheaper elsewhere.

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