Fernandez & Wells is a now a small chain of impressive cafes with three venues in Soho, a recently opened one in South Kensington and what I think is the best of the lot within the magnificent East Wing of Somerset House.
Bigger and better (the setting obviously helps) than the others and with specially commissioned artworks by David Tremlett that vies for attention with the wall of hanging jamon, this is a perfect marriage of style and setting. It’s where I imagine Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem would stop for tapas before doing something star-studded…
*drifts off … “Oh, hi Penelope. Hi Andrew. Have you time to join us for a Rioja?” … *
Great coffee, sandwiches, soup, the ubiquitous jamon, cheese, wine, cake. I could easily spend a lot of time and a lot of money here (it isn’t cheap!), but despite the obviously stylish interior and setting this is basically simple food. Very good, well-sourced food (like the succulent, plump anchovies I devoured) but still quite basic really.
There isn’t any real fancy cooking going on – it’s the freshly-made food and drink that makes this an exceptional cafe/bar.
Somerset House was always one of London’s cultural highlights before F&W took residence thanks to the art exhibitions, the spectacular open air cinema in the summer, the beautiful ice rink in the winter, the Rizzoli bookshop, the wonderful Courtauld Institute of Art not to mention the fantastic location next to the Thames
But now, thanks to Fernandez & Wells, it is even better.