Take a working lunch at The Grand Cafe, Royal Exchange
WHAT? London’s first purpose-built stock-trading house, the Royal Exchange has been a central part of the Square Mile since 1566, when if was founded by merchant Sir Thomas Gresham. More than 450 years, and two major re-builds later, it remains one of the most imposing and beautiful buildings in the City, both inside and out, with its portico of eight Corinthian columns guarding the entrance, and a vast, tiled atrium inside. It’s also home to a trio of dining options operated by D&D London, the owners of fine establishments including Bluebird, Launceston Place and Le Pont de la Tour.
WHERE? On the mezzanine level of the Royal Exchange you can find fine dining restaurant Sauterelle, and more laid-back option The Gallery. This week’s Working Lunch review, The Grand Cafe, nestles in the central atrium, although you can also get the menu served upstairs if you want a more discrete table.
ORDER THIS: There is, of course, a seasonal menu, with lots of lighter options that make it perfect for a long lunch. The mushrooms on toast is a sure-fire winner, although it’s trumped by the octopus gallega. The clam and saffron fregola is rich and salty and delicious, or you could keep it real with the excellent eggs royale.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? You could certainly come to the adjacent Threadneedle Bar for after-work drinks, combining the convenience of the Royal Exchange’s location with the opulent surrounds of its interior. But you can’t beat it as a destination for bringing clients.
NEED TO BOOK? You could probably just rock up and get lucky, but booking is always advised. Call 020 7618 2480 or go to royalexchange-grandcafe.co.uk
THE VERDICT: A no-brainer for anyone working in the Square Mile, the Grand Cafe combines chic surrounds with excellent, seasonal food and a selection of great booze.
ONE MORE THING… English fine wine company Nyetimber has moved into the ground floor of the Royal Exchange, and it’s come up with a partnership with The Grand Cafe, offering a number of dishes designed to compliment its excellent variety of white and sparkling wines. Few things beat dressed Devon crab and a glass of crisp bubbly.