I tried out Cellarium with a work colleague at lunchtime today. Never heard of it either? It’s not somewhere that would have been on my radar at all normally but we had a meeting in the vicinity and we found out about it on Google.
Cellarium (if you check out Wikipedia!) is from the Latin for cella or pantry, and is a word for a storehouse in a monastery or castle where the food, ale and wine were kept. This particular one is found under Westminster Abbey and has been there since the 14th century but it’s been tastefully and very cleverly modernised and is, surprisingly, a very pretty, light and airy place to have your lunch. You’ll also be pleased to know you don’t have to visit the Abbey to make use of it for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.
According to the menu, the Abbey is keeping up the ancient Benedictine tradition of providing hospitality to visitors. I’m rather glad they are because the chicken pie was very good – the flavours were very good, consisting of bacon, leek and mushrooms and it came with a nice puff pastry top. My colleague enjoyed the fishcakes and washed them down with Fentiman’s Victorian lemonade (I had the orange and mandarin flavour). Being rather greedy, we also had some rosemary sea salt chips which were really good. The lunch menu is not substantial but we thought there was something for everyone.
The meal wasn’t cheap for a spot of lunch, coming to £39 something, including a 10% service charge which was added to the bill. However, it made for a lovely lunch in really quite special surroundings. We got there just after 12 noon so it wasn’t too crowded and we didn’t feel flustered by the tourists as most of them gave the restaurant a swerve – probably due to the cost. The food was lovely and the service very good indeed – definitely worth dropping in if you are out and about in Westminster, and want to have a civilised lunch somewhere a little different.
You might want to set up your lunch by email or text rather than telephone if you do go there though – I tried to explain I’d been to Cellarium to Mr Payne but it kept coming out as “solarium” so watch out for misunderstandings!