Black Penny, Holborn

Despite being overrun with London’s two main tribes of lunch buyers – tourists and office workers – Covent Garden doesn’t do well at propping up lovely little cafes. It might be high rents or unimaginative locals (Lord knows Itsu is doing just fine) but cute coffee/salad/sandwich combos have a history of evaporating. Let’s have a moment’s silence for Damson, Salt and Food for Thought.

Despite the antique shop name and some history chat on its website, The Black Penny is a thoroughly modern place from its filament lightbulbs to its flat whites. If you can’t find a spot at one of the sunny pavement tables there’s plenty of space to sit inside, and your seat comes with the luxury of charming table service. Although the downside to that is it’s hard to choose between six salads without a menu when you’re not looking at them.


Said salads are lovely – plenty of variety and some interesting ingredients amid staples such as little gem lettuce, roasted new potatoes and beetroot. One portion of protein (our choices were salmon, chicken or quiche) plus three salads is plenty for lunch, and wonderfully filling considering how damn healthy it is. So filling that it should be really easy to resist the counter of cakes. Except the fact that I can confirm they make a lovely lamington proves it’s not easy at all. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

Black Penny
★★★★✰   £££
34 Great Queen St, WC2B 5AA, 020 7242 2580


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