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On a surprisingly sunny day in Soho, our Lunch Club reconvened for a long-overdue session, with both
regular members and a few new faces in tow
Words: Heather Steele
Images: Laurie Fletcher
With its stained-glass windows and neon sign, Quo Vadis – the third restaurant from the team behind Fino and Barrafina – is easy to spot along the hustle and bustle of Soho’s Dean Street.
Yet its members’ club’s Leoni Room is a private hideaway on its own floor, away from the buzz of the restaurant. The room will comfortably hold 12 guests, its brightly striped carpets and blinds contrasting with dark grey walls covered in cool modern art.
After catching up over a glass of Champagne, our group of 13 – four Square Mealers plus nine PAs and event bookers – sat down to warm bread, made in the venue’s own bakery.
Our three-course lunch kicked off with a choice of classic combinations – smoked mackerel paté with toast or a suitably summery beetroot, asparagus and soft boiled egg salad – which both went down extremely well with our hungry lunch clubbers. Between dishes, readers got the chance to get a sneak peek at our hot-off-the-press spring issue, as well as our 2013 Weddings magazine. Conversation ranged from the best corporate getaways to dream dinner party guests. Boris Johnson was a surprise favourite!
Despite rather hearty starter portions, everyone tucked into the main course. Not surprising, given a difficult toss-up between baked chicken with onion, peas and mint or smoked haddock in a mussel, leek and samphire broth. Both were declared beautifully cooked, while the mussels even converted one diner who previously didn’t like them.
Of course, the latest restaurant hot spots were a conversation starter. While tucking into a light almond meringue with lemon curd and ice cream (or a rich chocolate and prune brownie), we talked private dining spaces at the likes of Wabi, Angler, Balthazar and Oblix at The Shard. A few of the old favourites came up too, in The Ivy, Dean Street Townhouse and The Riding House Café.
After coffee, it was back to work for most, but not before we turned our praise to Quo Vadis itself. Regular lunch clubber Katie Dent, PA at Channel Five agreed: ‘It’s been great and it’s helpful to see the places I am always booking for others.’
‘It was lovely to hear such great stories about different venues,’ one of our new lunch clubbers Nina Nagarajan, PA at Sony Pictures Entertainment, said. ‘It was also interesting meeting other PAs – I’m so glad I managed to do some networking.’
Quo Vadis, 26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL
Tel: 020 7440 1463, squaremeal.co.uk/quo
This article was first printed in Square Meal Venues & Events, summer 2013