Pennethorne's Bar at Somerset House

3.7
42 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
£25 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service
Top tags:
  • Casual
  • Lunch
  • Quiet Conversation
Pennethorne’s is situated in the New Wing of Somerset House. It is named after Sir James Pennethorne, the 19th century English architect who designed the Somerset House New Wing and has been inspired by his travels across Europe following the cultural Grand Tours of the times.
The menu brings classic flavours from his Grand Tour travels to France and Italy with a modern English twist.

Open from breakfast through to evening, Monday to Saturday, Pennethorne's is a relaxed bar to enjoy a drink or relaxed dining experience.

Please note we only offer reduced breakfast menu such as pastries etc. Should you wish to organise a breakfast meeting, please get in touch for further details.
What 42 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.7based on recent ratings
3.5
Food
3.6
Service
3.8
Ambience
3.8
Value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Filters
L
London
28 reviews
Dined on 13 June 2019
Overall 2Food 3Service 2Ambience 3

Lovely decor and nice waiters, but SLOW SLOW SLOW service. Coffee is tasty. Food a bit bland. Mix-up with final bill. It took 100 minutes to have a coffee, a (very bland) bowl of soup and pay the bill. It's a good place to park with your laptop and have a cup of coffee, but don't plan on having a full meal unless you have a lot of time to kill.

Report
Helpful
WA
Oxford
7 reviews
Dined on 12 March 2019
Overall 4Food 3Service 4Ambience 3

Great place to meet up and catch up. Asked for a quiet table and was given one in the corner.
Interesting cocktails, would have appreciated some non alcoholic ones too.

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on 14 February 2019
Overall 2Food 1Service 3Ambience 4

Food was closed by 8 despite bar staff not saying anything earlier in the evening

Report
Helpful
RB
London
24 reviews
Dined on 8 November 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 4Ambience 4

Good vibe and location. Drinks & food were ok, nothing exceptional. I would go for the location... quick drinks or catchup before shows in Covent Garden

Report
Helpful
JH
London
2 reviews
Dined on 2 November 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

Great evening especially as we were able to use a voucher bought by a friend. Really lovely cocktails, friendly staff, good quality tasting board. Interior design is a bit average, but then we are fussy!

Report
Helpful
OT
London
1 review
Dined on 26 October 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Good. It was quite.

Report
Helpful
NI
1 review
Dined on 20 October 2018
Overall 1Food 3Service 1Ambience 1

There were literally mice running around the floor. Multiple mice. I brought this up with the staff, and they said that they were aware but hadn't been able to do anything about it. This place is a health hazard.

Report
Helpful
ES
London
7 reviews
Dined on 22 September 2018
Overall 3Food 4Service 3Ambience 4

Very pretty cafe but wasn’t blown away. While the food was delicious (I went for a seasonal stew with butternut squash), some staff members were a little grumpy! We had popped in for a quick lunch as part of my friend’s surprise birthday day out. Although the cafe wasn’t very busy, plates were left on our table for a long time and we had a negative response when asked if we could light a candle in a cupcake!
That being said, this would be fine for a quick bite before an exhibition at Somerset House. Food was good (and decent value for money), decor nice and location convenient.

Report
Helpful
LR
London
1 review
Dined on 3 September 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

The team there went out of there way to ensure I could drink there despite not being able to drink alcohol or sugar. They made a beautiful cocktail selection especially for me. Amazing. And beautiful setting. Definitely going back there.

Report
Helpful
RM
London
1 review
Dined on 1 September 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 3Ambience 4

Pennethorne's is always quiet on Saturdays. two lovely, 'architectural' rooms. Very cool. The food is limited (in choice) but good and filling. Great spot to meet up for a bite to eat!

Report
Helpful
TD
1 review
Dined on 10 August 2018
Overall 1Food 2Service 1Ambience 2

Terrible service, booked for birthday cocktails and they took forever to arrive - which meant we could only have one before going out to dinner. Really disappointed, the venue just feels a bit bland.

Report
Helpful
H
London
2 reviews
Dined on 28 July 2018
Overall 4Food 2Service 4Ambience 3

Food was expensive for what it was and quite hipster. So not overly filling or enjoyable.

Report
Helpful
SR
1 review
Dined on 17 July 2018
Overall 3Food 5Service 4Ambience 3

Very cosy and stylish indoors. The sharing platters are divine. Only the outdoor space leaves something to be desired. I’ll definitely be back!

Report
Helpful
JC
1 review
Dined on 5 July 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 3Ambience 4

Nice setting for a drink and nibble. Service was a little slow at times but overall great bar in a great building. Cocktails were exceptional.

Report
Helpful
JS
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2018
Overall 1Food 1Service 2Ambience 3

We booked in because the website said it was nice for an afternoon tea get-together. When we arrived, there was no food or drinks on offer (staff said we would be unable to order food) so we looked at the coffee/tea menu and then left to move on elsewhere. Didn't try food or anything so can't say if it was good value. Staff weren't overly helpful either. Nice venue, though. Looked very relaxed and sophisticated.

Report
Helpful
D
1 review
Dined on 25 June 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

Liked the menu and the simplicity of it, relaxed atmosphere good -- could have done with proper tables

Report
Helpful
BT
Surrey
2 reviews
Dined on 16 June 2018
Overall 5Food 4Service 4Ambience 5

We always enjoy Pennethorne's and this was no exception. The only hiccup was that our friend's order was somehow misunderstood and so he had to wait a while for it to be redone. But the staff are always pleasant and willing and it's a really nice casual place to meet up.

Report
Helpful
AM
Bedfordshire
2 reviews
Dined on 31 May 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Great place a for a nice lunch in a beautiful setting! Fantastic staff!

Report
Helpful
CK
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on 21 May 2018
Overall 4Food 3Service 4Ambience 3

Very low key lunch place

Report
Helpful
F
London
1 review
Dined on 17 April 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 5

Great value, nice salads and stews. Good atmosphere. Lovely staff.

Report
Helpful
v
1 review
Dined on 11 April 2018
Overall 2Food 1Service 3Ambience 3

Sorry to be negative. The staff were delightful and helpful. We got something we hadn't ordered, but it was taken off the bill, which was good. The food was very meagre and unimaginative but I would come again to see if it was just that particular night because I like the ambience and comfort.

A good thing... our red wine was delicious and just at the right temperature.

Report
Helpful
IM
1 review
Dined on 23 March 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Smart but relaxed environment with great staff. Good food and drinks.

Report
Helpful
OT
London
36 reviews
Dined on 13 March 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 3Ambience 4

Nice ambience and food was great however service could be improved. Staff needs to be aware of customers more as they appear to be preoccupied but not busy.

Report
Helpful
FL
London
18 reviews
Dined on 7 March 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

Lovely mushrooms on toast, with a side of green beans in tapenade - delicious! Reasonably priced, and quick for a work day lunch. Will be back for more!

Report
Helpful
S
London
3 reviews
Dined on 14 February 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

I love this bar ! Style and decor is gorgeous. Service is great, and the olives are out of this world. The food menu is very limited, particularly for vegetarians (the mushrooms on toast is v nice) but I go there to meet friends over a drink or 3.

Report
Helpful
S
London
64 reviews
Dined on 9 February 2018
Overall 3Food 2Service 2Ambience 4

I had a drink with a friend before dinner here, their wine list is very small and they did not have our first two choices. Nibbles are expensive, and are just nibbles. The place has a lovely style and I'd recommend it for drinks to people in the area but I would definitely not class it as a restaurant

Report
Helpful
OT
London
1 review
Dined on 6 February 2018
Overall 2Food 4Service 2Ambience 2

I work at King's and needed a cafe or restaurant for a late light lunch with four senior visiting professors from Italy and out of London, and had booked a table for 2.30pm, requesting a quiet area if possible. When I arrived no table had been reserved for me. It was suggested we go into the quiet room on the other side where the only table free was by the door. It would be useful to know if this was a mistake and you do actually reserve and prepare tables, otherwise I and those I manage for taking VIP guests for hospitality are unlikely to come to you again. If you do not actually ever reserve and prepare tables you should not be advertising that you do.

Report
Helpful
SK
London
13 reviews
Dined on 12 January 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

Very convenient and attractive place to lunch when visiting Somerset House, or anywhere else in the Strand. Good choice of wine, full and light lunch options. Prices are reasonable and the service was friendly and efficient. Recommended

Report
Helpful
OT
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on 11 December 2017
Overall 1Food 1Service 1Ambience 1

Sadly this was booked and I received an email back to agree the table but the bar was in fact closed for a private party ... not good!

Report
Helpful
A
New England
22 reviews
Dined on 8 December 2017
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Great service, lovely atmosphere in a beautiful setting. Would def return!

Report
Helpful
TS
London
15 reviews
Dined on 28 November 2017
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Lovely little spot. Nice drinks and friendly staff. Tucked away gem. Highly recommended

Report
Helpful
NN
London
12 reviews
Dined on 20 November 2017
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

This place has the best service in London. Their wine selection and array of herbal teas also rules! I particularly like the spicy potato salad.

Report
Helpful
DV
London
10 reviews
Dined on 18 October 2017
Overall 4Food 3Service 5Ambience 4

We went to Pennethorne's for a coffee morning (and a bottle of bubbles). Some of us stayed behind for food and we weren't particularly inspired. Really, we could have done with a few bowls of chips. They had "broken potatoes" instead. Never mind. We ordered (ham and) cheese toasties. It was really quite overwhelmed by the volume of mustard in there.
Didn't order anything else, so not sure. Staff were nice and interiors were also nice.

Report
Helpful
HR
London
67 reviews
Dined on 15 August 2017
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 5

Pennthorne's is a great location to meet friends for tasty lunch

Report
Helpful
S
London
7 reviews
Dined on 11 August 2017
Overall 3Food 3Service 4Ambience 4

Interesting drinks menu - good ambience - great find away from the hub bub - will return.

Report
Helpful
OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 8 July 2017
Overall 4Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Lunch was excellent; both food and venue very good. Unfortunately, however, the very courteous and helpful staff did not know about our booking but they were easily able to accommodate us, a party of four.

Report
Helpful
OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 6 March 2017
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

AS I WORK IN SOMERSET HOUSE I FREQUENTLY GO TO PENNETHORNE'S. I LIKE THE ATMOSPHERE, THE STAFF ARE LOVELY AND THEY HAVE A GOOD WINE AND COCKTAIL LIST. ANY FRIENDS I HAVE TAKEN THERE HAVE ENJOYED IT AND HAVE RETURNED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.

MY ONLY NEGATIVE IS THAT THE EVENING MENU IS A BIT SPARSE COMPARED TO LUNCHTIME.

Report
Helpful
OT
London
1 review
Dined on 25 January 2017
Overall 4Food 3Service 4Ambience 4

My lunch of couscous salad was rather bland. My colleague's butternut squash was salty but otherwise OK. And we were given the wrong bills. Maybe an off day but rather a disappointment given the very positive reviews.

Report
Helpful
TD
London
8 reviews
Dined on 5 January 2017
Overall 5Food 4Service 5Ambience 5

Great food and good value for a quick lunchtime get together.

Report
Helpful
L
London
1 review
Dined on 23 November 2016
Overall 4Food 4Service 1Ambience 4

Poor service, very slow and muddled. Main course not as described on menu with no explanation.

Report
Helpful
1
2