The new entrance to the National Portrait Gallery provides some drama to get you in the mood for a great dining experience, and eating at the new Portrait Restaurant. No longer a dark, poky revolving door bringing you into a small entrance hall, today you come through huge doors etched with Tracey Emin’s bronze portraits of 45 women.

The National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery reopened with two must see exhibitions; Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64 : Eyes of the Storm and Yevonde | Life in Colour. Both close in October, so get your tickets soon if you want to see them, they are both worth a new membership alone. Both vibrant, very different and really enjoyable. Having said that, the new re-hang in the galleries I think are breathtaking. I have been back 3 times since it opened and I’m planning on going back again before the end of the month.

However one of the most exciting things about The National Portrait re-opening is the new food scene. Casual dining downstairs at the Audrey is the full fabulous experience you would expect from the team behind the Daisy Green Collection, upstairs on the top floor is The Portrait, by top chef Richard Corrigan.

Where to find The Portrait

Arrive well ahead of your reservation so that you have time to wander through a gallery or two on your way to the top floor. This is where you will find Richard Corrigan’s new restaurant, The Portrait.

The Portrait Restaurant

You are immediately struck by how light the room is with its wall of glass overlooking a cityscape of rooftops incorporating the National Gallery’s ornate dome, the London Eye, Nelson’s Column, and the Houses of Parliament, all adding a unique dimension to your dining experience.

The Portrait restaurant

That sets the scene, but you are here for the food. We were warmly greeted by Jon Spiteri who couldn’t have been more welcoming. Richard Corrigan then appeared out of the kitchen to talk us through a few of his creations. He is immensely enthusiastic about his new venture and truly excited to be the patron chef for the National Portrait Gallery which he loves.

What we ate at The Portrait

Corrigan wants everyone to feel welcome so has designed an affordable set menu at £29, though we went a la carte, starting with a spectacular gazpacho with courgette cream and lobster, innovative and clever, and the mackerel which was very delicate.

Don’t forget to order the bread basket, specially baked and served with amazing whipped cultured butter.

I can highly recommend the steamed sole with mushroom and miso for a main, whilst Mr B enthused about his lamb chops with baba ganoush and aubergine. I must admit it did look delicious. The sides of olive oil mash and summer greens were cooked to perfection. 

We finished off with a superb oversized strawberry macaron and chocolate mousse. Both beautiful and very scrummy.

It was truly an unforgettable experience. The stand out dish was the gazpacho, I know I will be back again before it comes off the menu.

All the dishes were excellent and visually stunning. Go for lunch and enjoy the wonderful natural light, or pick the evening for a romantic dinner as the lights twinkle.

The service couldn’t be faulted, genuine warmth and professionalism. It’s open for lunch Sunday to Tuesday, and both lunch and dinner Wednesday to Saturday. One to remember for pre theatre #justsaying.

Portrait Restaurant Booking essential
Portrait Restaurant by Richard Corrigan, National Portrait Gallery, 5th Floor.

Looking for more ideas for eating out in London? Check out my LLW Food recommendations