Royal Exchange Grand Café 1

The Royal Exchange , London, EC3V 3LR

SquareMeal Review of Royal Exchange Grand Café

Its footprint has shrunk of late, but the Grand Café still lends democratic buzz to the Royal Exchange with an oval bar and tall floral arrangements providing the focus for an 
ever-changing cast throughout the day. 
With opportunity to people-watch and go jewellery shopping it feels elegant as well as unstuffy, and service follows suit – "grand" for special occasions, "prompt" for quick lunches. Lightness and simplicity are the watchwords when it comes to the food (think sandwiches and salads, Scottish lobster with mayonnaise, Thai beef with lemongrass and coriander), but for the most part it's well executed – although our chips were disappointing. There's affordable drinking by the glass or carafe on the short, snappy wine list, and if you can't stretch to pudding, the cakes offer a very acceptable alternative. Breakfast aside, the Exchange floor takes walk-ins only, but you can book upstairs in the Gallery.

Special offers

Set menu: 2/3 courses for £15/19.50

Enjoy 2 courses for £15 or 3 courses for £19.50 at the Grand Cafe and The Galley

From: 02 January 2018

To: 17 July 2018

Max: 6

Includes VAT, excludes service.

Valentine's Day menu: 3 courses for £27.50pp

Valentine's Day menu: 3 courses sharing menu for £27.50 pp

From: 14 February 2018

To: 14 February 2018

Max: 6

The Gallery restaurant requests a credit card number to secure this booking. If you or any of your guests have any dietary requirements, please do inform us 7 days prior to your booking. For any modification or cancellation contact us on 0207 618 2480 at least 24 hours prior to your booking to avoid cancellation charge, which is £27.50, the full price of the set menu per person. Includes VAT, excludes service. Monday to Friday.

Set menu: 2/3 courses for £15/£19.50

Enjoy 2 courses for £15 or 3 courses for £19.50 at the Grand Cafe and The Galley

From: 14 February 2018

To: 14 February 2018

Max: 6

Includes VAT, excludes service.

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7.1

Food & Drink: 7.6

Service: 5.8

Atmosphere: 7.9

Value: 6.1

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 2.0

Natasha K. 01 December 2016

The food was great (had the oriental beef salad) and we were served very quickly as we requested. Perfect atmosphere for a casual business lunch!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Torie R. 29 October 2016

This was a wonderful lunch, with wonderful service and within a wonderful, highly professional environment. Excellent location of course. My client was overjoyed to be treated there and I will definitely return.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 05 October 2016

The Royal Exchange occupies a beautiful and iconic location in the heart of the City of London. Within it, the Grand Café is a long-standing favourite, regularly used for impromptu coffees and occasionally a working breakfast or a quick bite at lunch. However, I had the misfortune to come here for dinner on a recent weekday night and certainly will not be revisiting the venue for this form of occasion in the future. It wasn’t that the food was bad – quite the contrary – just that the service was appalling. What made the experience all the more shocking is that on a Monday night, most restaurants (and especially in the City) would be delighted for custom. When my comrade and I dined at The Gallery (the upstairs area of the Café, and a superb location for people-watching down below) the place was half-empty, yet they still couldn’t get things right. It began with the drinks. The wine (an Albarino from North-West Spain) was initially served far too warm. I asked for it to be chilled. This resulted in them placing the wine in an ice bucket tantalising out of reach. Like being a child forced to await a treat, it was impossible to attract anyone’s attention to bring said bottle over to us. Eventually we resorted to getting up and bringing it to our table. Only a mumbled and slightly gauche apology followed. It was no better going with tap water. Stingy portions were poured into our glasses and no-one appeared willing at any stage to catch our eye in order for us to signal a top-up. At least the starter and main arrived without controversy. I began with fresh oysters, which were presented beautifully and served – fortuitously – at exactly the right temperature. My risotto main also pleased, with the use of Sicilian lemon adding a welcome piquancy and lightness to the dish. I also sampled a bite of my comrade’s sautéed king prawn main, which hit all the right spots, the fish meat being juicy and complemented well with chilli. Things were looking up at this stage, but then went downhill again. We asked for a plate of cheese to share for dessert. Now, even in a busy restaurant, this shouldn’t take long to prepare, but after a wait of 15 minutes, the delay was no longer even comedic, just severely tedious. I complained, told them to forget the cheese and, while they were at it, deduct the service charge from the bill. This they admittedly did, but it was hardly accompanied by a fulsome apology. My advice – just stick to the coffee here.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Amanda J. 13 March 2015

Just had a quick lunch at Royal Exchange, we both choses salads and found them to be excellent in both quantity and quality. Good prompt servicce. Ideal for a light lunch. Will return soon.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Elle E. silver reviewer 01 November 2012

There is not much to say about the Grand Cafe which is a bit sad, there should be plenty. First, the decor is pretty amazing, very high glass ceiling, light and airy, beautiful tiled floor, surrounded by interesting sparkly shops. The oval bar in the middle is usually lested with big bouquets. All together it should be a pretty special place where to have lunch but sadly it isn't. It's functional and I found the service quick and efficient. My poached salmon was nice but the accompanying steamed clams were tiny and overcooked, “braised baby gems” tasted more boiled than anything else and my companion's egg royale looked cold on arrival. As it was pretty busy when we arrived, we didn't have the luxury to pick our table (who cares ?) but the armchairs looked a little dated and somehow reminded me of the kind found in airports. To conclude, it works because it is non offensive and delivers what's on paper. Then other places in the City can do it as well, if not better.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 2.0

Marcus H. bronze reviewer 30 March 2011

Firstly – what an outrageously beautiful venue! There are very few buildings that have real wow factor but the Royal Exchange has it by the bucket load. Beautiful boutique shops surrounding a central open space that accommodates the Grand Cafe, endless height to the glass roof and glorious balconies from where you look down onto the proceedings below. Such a shame then that the venue was SO cold! It was late February when I went and granted it was cold outside, but apparently the under floor heating just doesn't really work and the venue is simply too large to be heated successfully. The result was that I had lunch wearing a coat, scarf and wishing I had brought gloves and a woolly hat as well! No doubt in the summer it will be great, but wasn't impressed! The other stand out thing was the sheer lack of service. Disappointingly, I was sat in the cafe for almost twenty minutes before I could catch the attention of a nonplussed waiter and then he showed no interest in the fact I had no menus nor ordered a drink. Still, the cold had set in and I was determined to get at least a cup of tea alongside my grapefruit juice (which was freshly squeezed and lovely incidentally). Food menu duly delivered I decided on the open lobster and avocado sandwich as I was after a light lunch. And a light lunch is exactly what I got – although the taste and presentation was very good, the amount of lobster I got in the sandwich wouldn't even have moved a set of scales. Miniscule amounts of lobster, contrasted by an over-sized mound of slightly under-ripe avocado. For £18 or thereabouts, it was a serious disappointment in the value stakes. To make my ‘light’ lunch a little heavier, I then ordered a seafood platter for one – oysters, prawns, langoustines and dressed crab. Now this was more like it – fresh rock oysters, lovely prawns, langoustines that if I was being picky were a little overcooked, and lovely crab. Service was still appalling though as I was left with empty plates on my (tiny) table for a good ten minutes or so. Overall? 5/10. Maybe 6/10 because the venue is just lovely and a table on the mezzanine, which I went up to have a look at, would make the sense of occasion even greater. Lovely venue, really lovely, and the food actually wasn't bad at all, just a shame the service is so bad. Value for money? Not too bad, although avoid the lobster sandwich if you want to actually eat something. The seafood platter is better at £21 although I would imagine the sirloin steak at the same price would be a more substantial meal.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Fiona M. gold reviewer 28 May 2010

I work in the West End and regularly need to meet people who work in the City or Canary Wharf. The Royal Exchange cafe is my meeting place of choice as the breakfast is excellent, lunch is yummy, afternoon tea is alright and it's pretty well priced (seafood platter with oysters, crab, langoustines and prawns for £21 per person). It's very handy for meetings as it's always buzzy and noisy so no-one can overhear you, and it's quite smart. It's also always bright, even on a dark day. However, the service varies from lazy to awful. It's not unknown to wait 10 minutes for a menu, and today I had to ask for my drink three times. They then brought me (and tried to charge me for) someone else's drink. When our food arrived it was delicious as usual, however everything we ordered was cold (seafood platter, tomato salad, mixed leaf salad) so I don't know how it took half an hour to arrive. If the service was sorted out, this place would be a perfect tasty, smart but informal place for meetings or lunches with friends.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 2.0

Heather U. bronze reviewer 09 November 2009

For civilised drinking this is up there. The gallery has areas that you can reserve, they are very cozy and romantic. The surroundings are beautiful and due to the impossibly high ceiling the acoustics are impressive with voices echoing around you. The drinks are around £10 each and they have a good selection of spirits. The staff on my last visit were very attentive and polite. If you go there I would advise you to reserve a seated area as this is a very busy venue and the seating is sparse – which is good as you get alot of privacy.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

LIM B. 08 September 2009

We had lunch today (8/9/09). All the food was very salty. My wife's pasta (main) had cheese sprinkled on it although she does not like parmesan! My dish was chicken with lentils. Again, very peppery and salty. Very slow service & it wasn't very busy! Sad to find such a lovely setting on a hot sunny day and then find this below par experience! We loved the interior of the building —— fantastic. But we did go for Lunch !!

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  • Royal Exchange Grand Cafe private dining room

Inspired by the building itself, this private room is designed with space and glamour in mind. The space is suited for events of up to 50 guests, such as corporate meetings, celebratory dinners, or product launches.

Room for 26
Capacity: 26
Special offers

Set menu: 2/3 courses for £15/19.50

From: 02 January 2018

To: 17 July 2018

Max: 6

Includes VAT, excludes service.

Valentine's Day menu: 3 courses for £27.50pp

From: 14 February 2018

To: 14 February 2018

Max: 6

The Gallery restaurant requests a credit card number to secure this booking. If you or any of your guests have any dietary requirements, please do inform us 7 days prior to your booking. For any modification or cancellation contact us on 0207 618 2480 at least 24 hours prior to your booking to avoid cancellation charge, which is £27.50, the full price of the set menu per person. Includes VAT, excludes service. Monday to Friday.

Set menu: 2/3 courses for £15/£19.50

From: 14 February 2018

To: 14 February 2018

Max: 6

Includes VAT, excludes service.

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