"The food used good quality, fresh ingredients and was expertly cooked. "Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
I must admit that for many years La Caprice was one of my favourite restaurants, tucked away behind The Ritz. The black and white tiled floors and the elegant but modern furniture providing a calm respite from the West End madness.
So I was intrigued when a friend arranged to meet me at The Wolseley which is owned by the same people. It’s just across the street from The Ritz and right on Piccadilly so I am surprised that I had never noticed it before.
Anyway, the inside is huge – it’s like one of those converted bank halls. Although it was originally a rather posh car showroom – hence the name - before Barclays took up residence until 2003. Despite the high ceilings it feels more intimate and relaxed than some of the similar places in the City. Maybe because there are tables on areas that are at different levels – which makes for a visual feast.
My friend explained to me that often celebrities staying at The Ritz popped into The Wolseley as it was discrete with impeccable service and sublime food.
Whilst the food is labelled as European, it felt rather British to me. English in fact. And I like that. As a Londoner who works in the West End and the City I felt right at home – even for an informal catch up dinner with a friend. I might even consider taking a date.
As I looked around the room I didn’t spot any celebs but was surprised at the eclectic mix of guests – business suits, couples, small groups of friends, a couple of tourists. But they were all apparently enjoying the good food and warm ambience of the place.
The starter selection was astonishing – from simple fare such as avocado vinaigrette (£7.75) and eggs Benedict (£6.75) through to steak tartare (£10.50), foie gras parfait (£12.75) and escargots a la Borguignonne (£11). There are plats du jour at £18 – including coq au vin, roast pork, osso bucco, fish stew and shepherd’s pie. I was tempted by the grilled calf’s liver - £19.50 and the duck confit £17.50 whilst my companion looked at the steak frites (rib eye £23.50 and sirloin £28). Good to see kedgeree (£11.75) on the menu but I went with a whole roasted sea bass (£23) with a fennel and herb dressing. The food used good quality, fresh ingredients and was expertly cooked. I regret that I was so wrapped up in the food and conversation that I forgot to take a note of the wine – all I remember was that it was excellent.
Another nice thing is that you don’t have to come for lunch or dinner – they serve breakfast (what a great place for an early morning business meeting) and sandwiches too. So despite the grand building, extravagant interior design and super-professional but genuinely friendly staff – it isn’t inaccessible.
KimT reviewed The Wolseley on Wed 10 Aug 2011