The Royal Quarter Café earns its regal name from its proximity to Buckingham
Palace, making it an ideal spot for tourist breakfasts, long lunches and coffee stopoffs. Yet thankfully, those tourist prices are absent on a menu of fine fresh foods.
Sister to the Chelsea Quarter Café, the River Quarter Kitchen and the Heal’s Quarter
Café, this all-day venue brings the chic and sleek brand to the tourist quarter. Just a
minute’s walk from Buckingham Palace and over the road from Crowne Plaza and Taj
hotels, there’s a certain inevitability to Royal Quarter Café becoming a tourist trap,
especially since it stands out so nicely on a street steeped in history, with its modern gloss
beaming out through its floor-to-ceiling glass exterior. It’s pretty understated inside –
well, apart from the café’s name in bold, red neon signage on the wall – with pine and
dark oak furnishings, scoop-back leather chairs and a large deli counter full of glorious
salads and snacks inside and topped with some attractive-looking meats and treats. Little
plant pots decorate each table and bookshelves hold more flora as well as random picture
frames displaying black and white photos of attractive young folk. With Victoria going
through such pains to redevelop, the Royal Quarter Café sets the agenda nicely for any
other competition looking to set up shop in the fast-evolving neighbourhood.
Since the Quarter Group was founded by a husband and wife team, there’s a real sense
of family at their café’s and kitchens, and the Royal Quarter is no exception. The café
invites locals in every evening from 6pm for complimentary nibbles and a chance to get
to know the neighbourhood. However, the location aids itself more to tourist trade, and so
expect breakfast, elevenses and lunchtime rushes when hotel guests from over the road or
those venturing to nearby Buckingham Palace drop in to refuel. Staff are dressed in smart
red pinnies over black uniforms and are accommodating although perhaps a little overformal for such a relaxed, all-day setting.
Breakfasts suit the hotel guests and early bird tourists in the area and the café picks up
a mean pace by 10am thanks to healthy, hearty options across the board. The Quarter
Group ethos seems to focus around fresh and flavoursome food from carefully sourced
origins. That’s how they’re able to boast about eggs with some of the most yellow yokes
around, all from corn-fed, free range chickens. Homemade pastries are also a string to
their bow, and sit tantalisingly on display.
Breakfast sets you up pretty damn well for the
day – a bowl of fruit salad with Greek yoghurt and honey (£7.95) is an absolute beast of
a portion, with fresh, exotic fruit mounded high. For a slightly more indulgent start to the
day, French toast (£6.95) is the way to go. Two big slices of toasted brioche are dusted
finely with icing sugar and carry a light vanilla flavour, which blends perfectly with a
small splay of poached pear slivers on the side – a few more wouldn’t go amiss – as well
as a mixed berry compote and nicely sour crème fraiche. And cooked breakfast options
such as a Cumberland sausage sandwich (£5.95) and a Full Monty breakfast (£7.95) are
so reasonably priced when considering Buckingham Palace is on the doorstep.
Lunches and larger options are also for a bargain buck, with sandwiches starting at
£3.95 for a humble cheddar and tomato relish baguette. Tapas-style sharing plates are
in keeping with the contemporary café feel, and top picks include a fennel and pine nut
corn-fed chicken dish (£7.95) and chargrilled artichoke with broccoli and green beans
Come to the Royal Quarter Café for afternoon tea for the full tourist treatment. At £16
you can enjoy a pot of tea with cakes, sandwiches and of course the obligatory scones.
Tea comes from Teapigs and coffee is from Illy, so caffeine addicts are well catered for.
And a range of freshly squeezed juices fit in with the wholesome persona at the Royal
Quarter Café, with the likes of carrot, beetroot, celery and ginger (£4.95) for superfood
fans, or a more straightforward orange and mango (£4.95) also available.
The Last Word
Get royally set up for the day by stopping in for fresh, fulfilling breakfast just moments
from Buckingham Palace. Just bear in mind that the Royal Quarter Café is bound to be a
tourist trap once word gets out.