Observatory café, Bupa House, Bloomsbury, London WC1
Food: Contemporary takes on canteen favourites, with an emphasis on sustainability and fresh, organic produce
Value for money: Fair
Corporate mission: Helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives
As one might expect from a leading healthcare company, Bupa seems keen to promote good health in its employees. At its Bloomsbury headquarters, the gym is open all day, and comes complete with personal trainers and dietary advice.
On a grey Monday morning, I banish all thoughts of exercise and head instead for the seventh floor, where the deli-style Observatory café has stunning views over central and east London. Appetites for virtuous food are primed by an attractive salad bar and several figure-trimming choices labelled Better Balance.
It’s 11.30am, too early for lunch, but I haven’t yet had breakfast, so I choose a made-to-order sandwich – smoked salmon, spinach and cucumber on soft, bouncy olive bread. At £2.32, it’s reasonably priced and tastes fresher than anything pre-prepared I could have bought locally. The Fairtrade Americano that accompanies it is 75p, and competes pretty well with my regular £2.30 coffee.
My companions are abstaining until lunchtime to have hot food at the busy Terrace restaurant, where today the offerings include Tandoori chicken with Indian-style tomato salad and mint raita, or braised brisket of British beef in red wine, shallot and thyme with horseradish dressing. The set-up is like any office cafeteria, but the food looks and smells like high-end gastropub fare. One woman I speak to eats even her main meal here rather than at home – a rare endorsement for canteen food.
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