Pennethorne's At Somerset House

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Pennethorne's Cafe Bar | In and Around Covent Garden

Barry and I don’t see each other very much anymore.  When we do we have so much to catch up on that we gabble away and steal words from each others’ mouths.  A Friday night at Pennethorne's was the perfect way to put paid to long absences.  

The cafe/bar is named after Sir James Pennethorne, debonair architect who designed the new wing of Somerset House in 1849. Pennethorne had recently completed his Grand Tour of Europe, which was his generation’s version of backpacking round Australia, and by the time he returned to London he was completely down with pizza and pasta. Or something like that.

Lovely Freddy plied us with wine and then Lovely Rosie asked - ‘what would you like?’ and we said ‘a bit of everything’ because we wanted to be adventurous (read: greedy). There were things in tins; sardines and smoked mackerels and spiced aubergine, all wolfed down with fig and apricot bread. Then we did a Grand Tour of our own, taking in salami from Milan, Iberico ham and some jolly nice Cornish coppa.

After that we both went a bit swoony over the cheese – the Occelli in Foglia di Castagne (nice bit of Italian there for you).  It was lush, as Barry would say, and we begged Rosie for more but they had run out. That in itself is a reason to go back, but so too is the friendly service and our smugness at having found a chic new place off the beaten track. Somewhere we could natter the night away.  Pennethorne would be proud.


Catherine Faulkner for In and Around Covent Garden