While I adore dining out in London and trying new spots, there are also a fair few places which I will try to frequent whenever I can. One such place is Portrait, the restaurant on the top floor in the National Portrait Gallery. High above the crowds and chaos of Trafalgar and Leicester Squares, this sweet little restaurant is an oasis of calm and deliciousness. So when Hannah, a friend of my friend Emily H, asked to meet in the centre of town for a lunch, I knew just the place!
One of the absolute best things about Portrait is the amazing view, out across the rooftops of central London. It’s a unique vantage point from which to see things!
There’s a charming wine list available and plenty of nice beers, but on the sunny afternoon we visited the Kentish strawberry Bellini, the seasonal aperitif on offer, sounded like exactly what I needed.
Hannah and I both decided to have the set lunch menu (two courses for £26.50, or three for £31.50) and wound up being twinsies and choosing the same mains and puddings! For our main meal we both chose the chargrilled hanger steak (served medium rare) with parmentier potatoes, new season garlic, greens and Bearnaise sauce. This dish was wonderful – balanced, rich and tasty.
For dessert (and I’m not actually a dessert person much of the time) we both selected the warm chocolate pudding & griottine cherries with creamy vanilla ice cream. I loved the pudding, especially the gooey, warm inside, but wasn’t as wowed by the cherries – they were fine and clearly a popular choice, just not for me.
Full to the brim we ended our meal with a rich, tasty cup of coffee, before a little lap through the gallery and on with the day. If you’re ever in this part of town, I’d recommend Portrait – in the winter I want to come back one evening to see the city when it’s all lit up.
Portrait’s opening hours are as follows (broken down by serving):
Breakfast: Monday-Sunday, 10:00-11:00
Lunch: Monday-Sunday, 11:45-15:00
Afternoon Tea: Monday-Sunday, 15:30-16:30
Pre Theatre: Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings, 17:30-18:30
Dinner: Thursday, Friday & Saturday 18:30 – 20:00
National Portrait Gallery,
St. Martin’s Place,
020 7312 2490