Love it or loathe it, “meeting for coffee” is the go-to ice-breaker for first dates. So use this opportunity to go somewhere really special, where the amazingness of the building can kick-start the conversation on your behalf. Here are five amazing places in London for a coffee-date to impress – and don’t worry, there’s plenty on the menu if you actually hate coffee!
1. Cellarium Café andTerrace
Part 14th century storehouse, part contemporary Benugo-catered eatery, this little cafe within Westminster Abbey’s cloisters is a hidden gem. Enjoy local and seasonal ingredients for breakfast, lunch, tea and classic Sunday roasts under beautiful looming arches and grand medieval-inspired lighting.
2. The Café Below
Situated just minutes away from the glitzy One New Change shopping centre, this intimate (and much more interesting) café lies under St Mary-le-Bow’s bell tower in a 11th century crypt, complete with original Norman stonework. The open kitchen serves breakfast and lunch, with a daily changing menu of British favourites, French classics and Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
3. RIBA Restaurant
Savour modern European dishes - complete with a daily pudding trolley! - in the Art Deco restaurant of the Royal Institute of British Architect headquarters. This sophisticated and sun-lit space, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking one of London’s most impressive streets, is made complete with beautifully crafted furniture and crockery; heaven for both designers and foodies alike.
4. Wallace Collection Restaurant
Located in the heart of one of London’s best-loved (yet little known) museums, treat yourself to a special blend of 100% Arabica coffee or a large selection of speciality teas from caterers Peyton & Byrne, under a spacious glass-roofed courtyard. Then, after your decadent meal, walk off the meal with a tour of the Wallace Collection, which houses one of the finest collections of European paintings in the world.
5. Magazine Restaurant
Designed by internationally-renowned architect Zaha Hadid and catered by chef Oliver Lange, this restaurant – attached to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery for contemporary art – mixes sweeping curved spaces with refined Japanese cuisine. With a tea menu that includes yuzu tartlets and matcha and caramel petit fours, you’re guaranteed to be in for a spatial and taste rollercoaster ride.
This post was originally written for a friend’s food blog. Having near-zero interest in food, however, I didn’t want to go back to these places to take my own photographs; he didn’t want to post it on his blog without. So here it is on Composite Column for your delectation.