We were at Geffrye Museum the other day for its Christmas Past exhibition and decided to grab a late lunch at the café within the museum. There was a long queue at its entrance flanked by a serving counter and a row of toddlers’ high chairs. The people in the queue were impatient and it was apparent why; while there were some unoccupied tables, the café staff were trying their utmost to fit as many people into the café as possible by assigning tables for four to only groups of four and so on. Woe betide the groups of three. Those who eventually got in were determined to stay put as long as possible. A couple were nursing a single cup of cappuccino for over half an hour. Nothing wrong with that but it does get unbearable when you are standing in the queue.
That said, the Geffrye Museum Café has a rather pleasant view. Large panel windows mean fair amount of natural light even in the middle of winter. Surrounded by a small green enclosure, the café has got this serene feel to it, provided that you are seated right beside the windows and away from the frustrated queue of people.
It was meant to be a light bite (cake and tea perhaps) but we figured that we had to make it worth the time spent queuing. The carrot cake (£2.55) took forever to arrive. When it eventually did, it arrived together with the main courses. The carrot cake was more cream than cake. You could put an ordinary sponge cake beneath the thick layer of cream and it would taste exactly the same. It might have been done in the traditional way but it was nothing like the one that we had at the Myddeltons Deli.
Wife was quite enthusiastic about the Geffrey pie (£7.75) until it appeared at the table. It says on the menu that the pie is prepared using a Victorian recipe. Well, I’m not sure what the Victorian definition of a pie is but the one that was served had its fillings neatly placed on the outside of a star-shaped puff pastry, which was empty within. Fillings consisted of some green mash and a few chunks of meat. It reminded me of something served in a school canteen and it tasted like it as well.
My roast chicken sandwich (£3.95) was supposed to be marinated as indicated on the menu. Unless the chicken had been marinated with mayo, it wasn’t apparent. The saving grace was that it came with wholewheat bread rather than just white ones. It was a stomach filler perhaps but nothing more.
While Geffrye Museum Café is a huge improvement compared to its counterparts in other London museums, it still has a museum café feel to it. It would be perfect pit stop to rest your tired legs but I’m not sure the full meals are worth it. If you are looking for a serious bite, you are more likely to find it at the Vietnamese restaurants along Kingsland Road.