CafÃ© of St. Martin-in-the-Field
Cheap Fun Atmospheric London Dining
By: C & A - Jan 27, 2014
A daily routine when visiting London is a noon stop at the half price theatre ticket booth in Leicester Square.
From there it’s a five minute walk to Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery. The monument to Lord Nelson is the heart of London and gathering point for swarms of pigeons. Around the corner is the National Portrait Gallery. A bit of a snore, but on the top floor, a wonderful tea shop with a panoramic view of the square below.
On the north-east corner of the square is the Anglican Church, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, designed by James Gibbs in 1722-1724.
During a visit some years ago we discovered the Café in the Crypt and have returned ever since.
It reeks of atmosphere with low level, moody lighting and arched pillars supporting the church above. You literally walk over the dead buried below your feet. Looking down you can see well worn marble slabs with fading inscribed names. You wonder how these souls endure an eternity of diners tramping about.
By British standards the cafeteria style food is cheap and hearty.
It’s a combination that attracts daily hordes of visitors from locals to tourists.
The Crypt Café is a not very well kept secret. We urge all of our friends to check it out.
The trick is to find a table first and then take turns getting food.
You can get a hearty soup with a chunk of bread and tea or coffee for under $10. The lunch with a couple of veggies is a bit more. Then there is the irresistible cobbler or pudding with hot custard sauce.
There are daily roasts to choose from as well as a variety of salad, sandwich and vegetarian options. Sometimes we have the soup and a veggie side dish.
With the crowding you may end up with table mates.
During our most recent visit they proved to be an artist and an opera singer.
It made for a lively dialogue. We had soup and they were enjoying the fish and chips with a side of mashed peas.
After lunch we headed for the National Gallery and then home for some rest before evening theatre.
Below is more info on hours of operation from the website.
Breakfast is served from 8.00am – 11.00am
A full English Breakfast including eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, beans, mushroom and toast is available. Or you can mix and match your breakfast favorites including scrambled eggs on toast, bacon sandwich, fresh pastries, cereals and yoghurts.
Lunch is served from 11.30pm – 3.00pm
Choose from salads, hot and cold sandwiches and hot vegetarian and meat dishes. Leave some space for our ‘customer choice’ apple crumble served with lashings of custard.
Afternoon Tea is served daily 2.00pm – 6.00pm
Includes scone, Cornish clotted cream, strawberry jam, a slice of double chocolate fudge cake, Madeira cake and tea or coffee.
Dinner is served from 5.00pm – until closing time
Enjoy the same tasty menu served at lunch but this time leave room for the pudding!
Tea, coffee and pastries from 11.00am – 12.00pm
Sunday lunch from 12.00pm – 4.00pm
This includes a traditional Sunday roast and a vegetarian option
Afternoon tea from 2.00pm – 6.00pm with a selection of other cakes from 4.00pm – 6.00pm
Teas, Coffees and A Little Something Extra
Throughout the day pop into the Café in the Crypt for drinks and light nibbles. We serve a refreshing range of premium organic teas and our coffee is Rainforest Alliance certified. Freshly made cakes, fruit and yoghurts and savory snacks are available as well as wines served from 11.00 am until closing time.
Reservations are not required but recommended for parties of 10 or more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0207 766 1158 for assistance.