European brasserie, Quaglino’s, has graced St James’s since 1929. Established by Giovanni Quaglino and reinvented by Terence Conran, Quaglino’s hasn’t failed to draw in a glamorous crowd.
It has always been a star studded location. I first knew of the restaurant because of Judy Garland’s infamous wedding reception, held at the Bury street venue, where she ended up dancing on an empty dance floor as not one of her celebrity guests arrived. With such a glittering history, I couldn’t resist checking out this notorious destination for myself.
…brilliant value considering the restaurant’s exclusive location…
Quaglino’s offers a bar lunch; one course and a glass of wine for £10. This is brilliant value considering the restaurant’s exclusive location and it gave us a chance to test out a new venue without breaking the bank. Although this meant we couldn’t eat in the main restaurant, I think we all agreed that the bar seemed to be the more appealing area.
Sitting at the top of the iconic staircase, which sweeps down into the dining area, the bar is a mixture of low leather seats, orange and black cushions, modern photography and warm lighting. It’s a really chic area and, open until 3am at the weekends, it would be a great place to enjoy a drink or two.
…The service was largely unfaultable…
Although the menu doesn’t include any outrageously different dishes, Quaglino’s pulls off high quality bistro food exquisitely. I tried the pumpkin and sage linguine, which was delicious, and my friends ordered the chicken Caesar salad and the sausage and mash: equally as appetising. The service was largely unfaultable, although our waitress did start clearing the table when one of us was still eating – a particular pet hate.
Both the bar and restaurant remained relatively empty, however, the atmosphere was in full swing as the pianist threw himself into renditions of Lady Gaga and other current chart songs. Perhaps, in hindsight, sitting right next to the piano wasn’t the best idea as we found our throats were fairly sore by the end of lunch but it was fun nonetheless and the pianist definitely seemed to be enjoying himself!
Quaglino’s is affordable glamour and it definitely holds a certain charm. I would unquestionably return and may even like to move down the staircase and sample a famous crustacean platter!
Image courtesy of Quaglino’s