We visit Quaglino’s restaurant in St James’s to try their weekend brunch menu.
It’s impossible not to feel a tingle of excitement as you approach the grand doors of Quaglino’s. This iconic London restaurant has long been synonymous with glamour and excess.
Located in St James’s, which is undergoing a major regeneration to restore its historic streets and buildings, Quaglino’s has also been refurbished in the last year.
The venue can trace its history back to the 1920s and has been a London hotspot at various stages since.
The restaurant is OTT.
It has kept its art deco roots, but there’s a definite feel of 80s and 90s flashiness for good measure. As you descend the grand staircase, you feel like you’re in for a special evening. Or, in my case, a special mid-afternoon.
I visited for the ‘Bottomless bubbles brunch’ (well, this is about excess right?), and made my way to our table via the bar.
I can thoroughly recommend this as a destination in itself, overlooking the even lower restaurant area (with a DJ booth) with an excellent cocktail list.
The ‘corpse reviver’ (gin, Cointreau, lemon, possibly a dash of absinthe) will have you up and running in no time.
If I’m honest, the Brunch menu felt a bit fragmented – appetizers and mains interspersed with eggs and sandwiches.
In this spirit, I ordered the harrisa aubergine, with pleasing coconut and peanut, followed by a croque monsieur. Not an obvious combination.
My friend, showing more rational judgement, chose the steak tartare followed by the tuna fin. The food was nicely presented and well turned out, but eggs aside, this didn’t feel like a particularly brunch orientated menu.
The overall offer is European brasserie and seafood specialist and the dinner menu looks more promising.
The bottomless bubbles were attentively topped up, with up-beat music keeping the atmosphere lively. With no windows there is no time of day in here, so the decadence comes all the easier.
It was busy enough, but I have been reliably informed this place is heaving in the evenings with the central tables cleared away later for dancing until 4am. I left thinking I should definitely come back for an evening.
Quaglino’s still knows how to throw a party.
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