From its inception by Giovanni Quaglino in 1929 to its reinvention by Terence Conran in 1991, Quaglino’s has always been a place to impress and be seen. OK, so it’s had a few dodgy years in between, but the fact that it’s still around is testament to its loyal followers. It was given a bit of a nip/tuck earlier this year and, visually at least, it appears to be in rude health.
Walking down the first staircase, one can’t help but be impressed by the bar, which has been given a funky new look. With live music, a 3am licence and some good cocktails, it’s somewhere I would be happy to spend a night drinking and cavorting with the ladies of Mayfair. Clearly I’m not the only one, as the bar had a distinctly younger audience and a more fun feel to it than during its former incarnations.
When it comes to making one’s way down to the dining room, there are fewer grander entrances around. You simply can’t help but feel special as you sweep down the iconic main staircase to the chic and modern restaurant in full swing; those of a shy, retiring disposition need not apply.
The classic British menu has also been given a makeover, although new head chef Konrad Inghelram has actually taken dishes from the restaurant’s past to move it into the future. Unfortunately, this area is not quite as convincing as the rest of the restaurant, perhaps because Konrad was taking a week off during our visit. Quaglino’s cocktail was generously full of plump shellfish with a perfect Marie-Rose sauce; on the other hand, Coquilles St Jacques had been overdone giving the entire dish a dry texture –not great for £15.25. Mains picked up, with a tasty Chicken pie with porcini mushrooms & leek (although it was way too small for the £13.25 being charged) and a really delicious dish of Herb crusted rack of lamb, boulangere potato & rosemary jus. Desserts were again hit and miss, with a delicious Bourbon vanilla crème brûlée being offset by a bland Chocolate & pear tart.
In conclusion, the resurrected Quaglino’s dishes were the disappointing ones, whilst the new ones were actually pretty good. Unfortunately, the cost of the dishes also means that you’ll be paying a high price for looking good at Quaglino’s.
Cuisine type: British
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £80
16 Bury Street
London SW1Y 6AJ
Tel: 020 7930 6767