Bad Cafe: Churchills, Whitehall

Visited: Thursday 3rd January 2007

Poor quality tourist rip-off in Westminster

Interior:  Jolly and traditional upstairs, I was shown to a depressing downstairs area which felt like a toilet corridor even though this was in fact separate.

Food: Very basic poor-quality white so-called ciabatta roll, barely toasted with tasteless mozzarella and cold tomato. A ‘large’ tea was a slightly bigger than normal cup.

The special condemnation I hold for this establishment is its terrible value for money and dreadful service.

My undistinguished sandwich and tea came to 7 pounds twenty – 2.10 of which was for the tea – the same money would buy a large one in an upmarket coffee chain, never mind another caff paying similar rents and business rates in Westminster. To add to the insult, the bill included an additional 75p for service.

This I asked them to take off, as the service was very disappointing. When I arrived, the male staff behind the counter were very friendly and told me that, as there was only one large table left upstairs, I would be looked after downstairs. There the female staff were brusque, unfriendly, showed me to a table in front of the staff room door (although there were many tables when I arrived) and could not wait for me to finish, first asking me if I wanted an espresso, then bringing the bill, then simply standing there as I put my coat on (the table had been cleared as soon as I put my empty cup down), although there were free tables left. When I explained at the till why I wanted the service removed, the (male) staff member muttered something about a ‘large party’ as if large parties of tourists were something to which this particular cafe was not accustomed.

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