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15 March 2015

Afternoon in a Crypt ● by Jess

Trafalgar Square is one of the most visited destinations in London. On the east side the square is St. Martin's-in-the-Field, which looks like a fairly typical English church, but underneath it, there's a crypt filled with all kinds of exciting things!

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Once you go down the church's stairs, you'll come to gift shop and a room with brass monuments (now replicas of the originals) that used to decorate the walls and tombs of those buried beneath the church. There are brass plaques of knights fighting dragons, kings and queens, characters from shakespeare... some are even as tall as five or six feet.

You can pick one, and take it to a table to do a "brass rubbing." The church provides black paper and waxy metallic crayons (for a fee of course-- cheapest is £4.50, the one I did below, a celtic pattern, was £6.50) and you can create your own rubbing to take home.

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I had expected that this was something sort of meant for children (obviously that didn't stop me), but I was surprised to only find adults rubbing away. When we started our own, I began to understand why. You have to push so hard to get a decent rubbing! My biceps haven't been worked that hard probably.... ever.

That's not to say children COULDN'T do it, I know I would have loved it as a kid. I think this is one to add to my ever-growing list of cheap family friendly activities to do in London.

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Jon and I both rubbed our hardest (Jon a little too hard-- he managed to rip one side...oops) and at long last this is what we came up with. For £0.89 they also give you a cardboard tube to put your treasure in.

Right next to the room with the rubbings, is the crypt (literally where all the bodies are buried!). But the church has turned it to a snazzy little cafe.

We got the mushroom potato soup + roll (which was enormous) for £4 and the plum berry cobbler for £4.50. The portions are pretty substantial, so we shared. A definite yum! Unfortunately, it was so good, Jon decided to sip the remaining custard through a straw (while I tried hard not to gag... it was horrible to watch).

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As if that wasn't enough great food, later Jon's work sponsored a very fancy dinner for two at Berners Tavern. The ambiance was incredible-- such a beautiful place! The food was sort of hit or miss, some really high points and some really low ones. Here's our food review for anyone considering going:

  • Roasted Goosnargh Chicken (comes with bacon, mashed potato, smoked garlic and parsley salsa verde, coq au vin sauce) | 10/10 | Probably the best thing I've eaten recently. My mouth is literally watering right now thinking of it. Ordered with tenderstem broccoli.
  • Dark Chocolate Tart (served with mint ice cream and cookie crumble) | 8/10 | Rich and satisfying. Ordered with fresh mint tea. 

  • House chopped salad | 2/10 | Well prepared, but a very strange flavour profile including slightly raw potatoes, olives, corn and onions.  Bizarre.
  • Spiced carrot cake (comes with cream cheese moose and ginger ice cream) | 2/10 | Issues with texture. They give you this small brick of cake... like a very dense little nutrition block, with a light mousse and an ice cream that seriously bites you back (holy spicy ginger!). Avoid.

Also ordered fillet steak (yummy, but overcooked, better if ordered with mashed potatoes instead of chips) and pumpkin risotto (5/10). Overall, would return, especially for that amazing chicken...

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All in a all a very satisfying day! I'm learning more and more that food is the way to my inner fatty kid's heart. :)

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