I have worked in and around the Bow Lane area for the best part of six years now and yet had never been to Café Below until this week. Shame on me. In an area rife with mass-produced, production-line food, Café Below makes for a very refreshing change. Located in the crypt of the St Mary-le-Bow Church (tables are also available for alfresco dining upstairs by the church), it serves a small selection of freshly prepared dishes, from a menu that changes everyday.
I had a Lamb chilli & mint burger in one of our baps, aioli, slow roast tomato, red cabbage salad & tyrells crisps. The bap was soft on the inside, floury and crusty on the outside; the meat juicy and tender, with just the slightest hint of chilli (could have done with that being a bit stronger) and good aioli – thoroughly enjoyable it was. It’s not all about the burgers at Café Below either – I didn’t taste it myself, but a Ham hock, cucumber and broad bean salad, honey and mustard dressing, our own brown bread was, apparently, good too, with just the right level of seasoning.
For dessert, we shared a slice of Chocolate and chestnut cake, served with dollop of cream. It was also very nice - moist, not too heavy, with a lovely nutty taste.
In a nutshell…
A pleasing alternative to the many generic chains and soulless restaurants that pervade the area. Handily, all dishes are also available for takeaway. Will definitely be a regular lunch option for me from now on.
Update: Subsequent visits have proved somewhat disappointing, indicating, at the very least, a lack of consistency, and necessitating a downgrade of the original score.
6/10 (previously 7/10)
St Mary-le-Bow Church, Cheapside, London , EC2V 6AU
Average Price: £10-£15