So you’ve never been to… Terrace Cafe, British Library

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A brief guide to the London institution’s sleek new dining room. We visit the Terrace Cafe, at the Britsh Library,


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Terrace Cafe, British Library
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Terrace Cafe, British Library
Sleek and contemporary dining room – an ideal escape from all those dusty books. Photo: Clare Hand

Age: Only a few months. This is the latest culinary offering from the BL that launched this spring, nestled just behind the Kings Library Café on the first floor.

What’s it like? A grand circular space, white walls framed with booths, huge windows and bamboo trees. Sleek and contemporary – an ideal escape from all those dusty books.

What else? There’s also an outdoor terrace overlooked by the Francis Crick Institute. Perfect for courageous souls to settle on as winter rolls in; better still for the rest of us to gaze at as we attempt to recall where summer went.

Who goes? Lots of academic types chatting with their colleagues as respite from their books, or frantically note-taking to hit that deadline. And post-exhibition lunching ladies, nibbling on strawberry tarts as they put their worlds to rights.

Terrace Cafe, British Library
Think artisan sandwiches and hearty soups. Photo: PR

What are we talking? An emphasis on British fare – quiches, sausages, hearty soup with chunks of bread, seasonal salads, artisan sandwiches. This aside, there’s a range of packaged hot dishes and a strong selection of cakes (both vegan and cream covered).

What should I plump for? The Ho Fun (£5.50) is a generous bowl of freshly prepped flat noodles with chunks of courgettes, broccoli florets, substantial charred peppers marinating in a zesty, lemongrass infused broth. Topped with fresh chilli, it packs a mega-punch – guaranteed to swiftly zap you out of any study coma you may have found yourself in.

Terrace Cafe, British Library
Substantial: the ho fun. Photo: CH

To wash it down? An impressive range of soft drinks and artisan coffee from Nude Espresso.

Do say: “Can I see the cake list?”

Don’t say: “How do I get to the Last Word café?”

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British Library, open 9:30-8pm (Fri to 6pm, weekends till 5pm), 96 Euston Rd NW1. More here.

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