The Place Below, EC2V 6AU
- (020) 7329 0789
- St Mary Le Bow Church, Cheapside (map of this place)
- EC2V 6AU
- Monday–Friday, 7:30am–3:30pm
This is a totally vegetarian cafe in the crypt of St Mary Le Bow church on Cheapside. Being in the City, it's mostly geared towards breakfast and lunches, and indeed doesn't open in the evenings. I called in on a Friday morning at about 11am, and it was completely empty, unsurprisingly, although a few besuited types wandered in later for takeaway coffees.
Most of the breakfasty options are pastries and things, and not vegan, so I had the “Health Bowl”, a concoction of short-grain brown rice, lentils, and various vegetables, served on a sheet of nori (£5.50 eat-in, £4 takeaway). (Note that this isn't usually available until lunchtime.) I wasn't convinced by the raw mushrooms or almost-raw sugar snap peas in this; but I suppose that's what you get if you order something with “Health” in the name, and I did really like the lentil and rice bit. Lunchtime is better for vegans, since the soup is always vegan on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the hot dish is always vegan on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The hummous sandwich would also be an option.
The vegan choice is small mainly because the menu as a whole is small: a soup, a hot dish, a quiche and a salad, changing daily.
They also do fresh juices (the apple is really good, tastes of apples, unlike the stuff you buy in cartons from the supermarket) and what is apparently some very good home-made lemonade — these are all £1.70 eat-in and £1.40 takeaway IIRC. They have soya milk available for tea and coffee.