Royal Exchange Grand Cafe & Bar

875 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2015

Product name

Royal Exchange Grand Cafe & Bar

Product country


Product city


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Reasons for trip

As part of the London Restaurant Festival 2015, the “Royal Exchange Grand Cafe”: offered three courses and a cocktail for £19.50 per person – ideal for two ladies lunching.

The restaurant, at Bank Underground, is at mezzanine level in a 16th century building founded by the merchant Thomas Gresham to act as a commercial centre for the City of London. As befits its location, there are expensive, luxury shops (think Theo Fennell and Georg Jensen) on the ground floor and an informal, but smart café in the central courtyard.

Despite have booked and received e-mail confirmation, it was disconcerting to find our booking wasn’t recognised. Still they found a table for us

There were two choices of cocktail, a strawberry spritzer-type cocktail as an aperitif or an Amarula-based drink to have with coffee. We chose the former.

Beef carpaccio with wild rocket and parmesan was a light starter in contrast to my friend’s hefty portion of smoked mackerel, potato salad, pickled cucumber and dill, horseradish chantilly and quarters of rye bread. However, both were delicious.

My three large chunks of spiced seared tuna, served rare, were extremely tender. and arrived with pesto dressing, gently cooked halved cherry tomatoes and black olives. I didn’t see the garlic petals but if I’d paid £19.95 for this dish alone, I would have been happy.

In contrast the chicken pie with wild mushrooms, tarragon, and puff pastry looked more like a £7.95 pub meal and although it was large, there was no vegetables pr potatoes and required a portion of sautéed wild spinach.

We were both pretty full and had simple lemon and raspberry sorbet for pudding: which rounded our meal off beautifully.

Unfortunately whilst the service from smartly dressed staff was professional, we waited a long time for our main course: we arrived at 1pm and mains were only served after gently prompting at 2.10pm.

For me, this was a great value meal. Not all our dishes were on the a la carte menu but those that were priced as follows: carpaccio (£9.50), chicken pie (£14.50) and sorbet (£6) meaning our three courses and cocktail were around half price. The wine list starts with house at a reasonable £19.75.

A discretionary service charge of 12.5% is added.

Helen Jackson

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