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An incredible Paula Rego mural fills one wall of this airy restaurant/café in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery; otherwise, all is safe and smart, with comfortable teal leather chairs and
ever-so-trendy filament light bulbs. The restaurant deals mainly in lunches and follows the gastronomic trend for patriotic seasonality, sending out anything from crab salad with Jersey royals and
seaweed ‘popcorn’ in summer to roast rump of lamb with cockles, samphire, saffron potatoes and wild cabbage come autumn. Alternatively, take the cheap, swift option by using the daytime bakery,
where you can eat smoked salmon and beetroot salad, quiche, chicken and butterbean stew, artisan cheeses and all manner of cakes, buns and cookies from the Peyton & Byrne ovens – afternoon tea
is quite a goer. To drink, around 25 decent wines are served by the glass.
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30 January 2019
24 March 2015
Booked at fairly short notice to have a champagne afternoon tea. Generally really nice, just what I expected. A bit quiet at 2.30pm, but we had a great seat, watching the Trafalgar Square buskers and mime artists.
The champagne was nice, the sandwiches were fresh, the petits fours were very rich and beautiful, the scones buttery. Somehow qualified for a deal on the price as well - was £19.50 each when I think I was expecting £21.50.
The tea (loose leaf, Earl Grey) was good but either there was too much tea in the basket, which made it go stewed very quickly, or it had sat already for a minute or two before being brought to the table. Second pot the same. Would prefer a different kind of teapot where you can more easily take out the tea-leaf-basket, or for the tea to have full circulation in the pot, and a strainer over the cup. Unlimited refills though, so I suppose we didn't really need to get second cups out of the pot!
Will come again.
22 December 2009
The food is great here. Unfortunately the service is atrocious. We were ignored at the front desk, then seated but not asked for drinks for about 10 minutes, and eventually I had to get up from my seat and pursue a waiter to ask for our order to be taken. I was incensed that a middle-aged businessman – who had entered some time after me – had his order taken first by our waiter. I can't think of any reason for this insulting behaviour (I was wearing just as pinstriped a suit!) except a patronising and sexist attitude to female customers. I will not be returning.
06 July 2009
I ate at the National Dining Rooms on Friday evening, having their set menu which was delicious. The wood pigeon was an interesting and unusual start, and was exceptional. The lamb which followed was cooked to perfection and was filled with flavour, and the pea and onion crush accompaniment was an excellent clean contrast to the meat. The Eton mess which finished the meal was a great example of a simple dish created with style and flair – a great amount of fruit to cut through the richness of the cream and sugar of the meringue.
The Dining Rooms itself is a stunning restaurant, with perfect views over Trafalgar Square. The staff are knowledgable and helpful, and the ambience is calm and relaxed while maintaining the air of something quite special. I will most definately be returning.
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