Quo Vadis 22

26-29 Dean Street , London, W1D 3LL

9 reviews

46 British Soho

  • Quo Vadis
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 9
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 11
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 6
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 8
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 12
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 5
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 4
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 3
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 2
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 1
  • Quo-Vadis-2016 10

SquareMeal Review of Quo Vadis

Squaremeal London Hot 100 2016Founded back in 1926, this quintessential “Soho sanctuary” isn’t drifting quietly into old age: autumn 2016 saw the ground-floor dining room reduced by two-thirds to make space for Barrafina Soho (both are owned by the Hart brothers), following the latter’s eviction from nearby Frith Street. The room looks the same, with brown-leather banquettes, “beautiful fresh flowers” and jewel-like stained glass windows, although there’s less all-round hubbub than before. Head chef Jeremy Lee’s menu is still a joyful celebration of the seasons, so expect anything from a warm salad of grouse and elderberries to a strapping leg of lamb garlanded with a pick-and-mix of gently cooked mushrooms. Lee’s refined repertoire also makes room for simple comforts such as chunky, lightly fried chips or steamed lemon pudding with rhubarb, while the trademark smoked eel sandwich is a must-order. None of this comes particularly cheap, but thanks to great service, really good Martinis and a dash of British eccentricity (John Broadley’s distinctive illustrations are a hoot), we reckon it’s great value.

Are you the restaurant owner?

Click here for Links & Logos

8.3

Food & Drink: 8.2

Service: 7.3

Atmosphere: 8.0

Value: 7.8

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 23 February 2016

It's heaving in Soho on a Saturday evening, but step in here and all is calm and welcoming. The place is bigger than it looks with several interconnecting rooms but the beautiful flowers, mirrors and through-views keep it all together. The menu is quite brief, but there are plenty of things you want to eat. I had grilled squid with blood orange and fennel - the bitter orange making a nice foil for the fish with crunchy breadcrumbs sprinkled over. We expected our other starter of chickpea, artichoke and spinach to be a type of salad, but it turned out to be a pot of layered purees, good with the crisp baked flatbread that came with it. We both had cured salmon with a vibrant green herb sauce that arrived with a little pot of cucumber in mustard dill sauce as well, the salmon slowly cooked until soft and barely beyond translucent. Sides of pink fir potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli worked well with the sauces. Then we were off to see a comedy show so no time for dessert, but we'd had plenty. There's a lively atmosphere and quite a turnover on tables but it's all managed very well. Recommended.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Paul F. 24 October 2014

This has become one of my favourite restaurants because it does everything well. The food is the sort of thing you wish you could make at home; relatively unfussy but immaculately prepared with first class ingredients, typified by one dish we had, the mackerel. Very fresh (which this fish in particular has to be), simply, but perfectly cooked. Cooking fish looks easy but to get it spot on is a skill. The building makes for a great dining space and the staff are well chosen. Very friendly, knowledgeable and engaging but efficient at the same time. The menu is limited but that is this place's modus operandi, so if you want a choice of 30 or 40 dishes go elsewhere, and it does change at least once a day. Considering how popular this restaurant is and where it's located, the prices are very reasonable. Clearly some people have had a few disappointing experiences but all I can say is that I haven't. I'll be back shortly for the fourth time in the past few months.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Roland S. 08 August 2014

We took my mother to Quo Vadis for a birthday dinner last night and, after informing the staff of the occasion, they pulled out all the stops on making it a special night. A couple of generous complimentary items, together with the excellent and friendly service, provided a master class in front of house skills. The food was reliably excellent and staff were able to knowledgably discuss the provenance of both the ingredients and our wine choice. A delightful venue to celebrate a special occasion.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

GH platinum reviewer 10 May 2014

Busy place and attentive service. Lamb sweetbread was delicious!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Liberty G bronze reviewer 10 March 2014

It started with our white wine order; the waitress told us it wasn't very chilled so she would leave it in the ice bucket for a bit, there was no offer to find an alternative bottle despite our complaints. One member of our party ordered a steak asked for it to be cooked medium to well done (she was pregnant), the waitress instantly turned her nose up and said that was not the way it should be cooked ! We kept having to get up throughout the meal to find a waiter/ waitress to order more wine, we waited a good 15 minutes for a new bottle to arrive at one point. Overall the food was tasty but overpriced, the service poor, the atmosphere was a bit fussy and it was very bright in the restaurant so not good if you are on a date! We did not pay the service charge but in hindsight we should have complained at the beginning of the meal when we had the wine problems.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Jo B. 23 September 2013

Although the menu and service seem to have changed since our last visit we had a lovely evening at Quo Vadis. I found the menu a bit restrictive – would have loved another choice of fish on the menu. But, what we had was great. There's a lovely buzz to the restaurant although the waiting staff seemed a little stretched.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Grumbling Gourmet platinum reviewer 05 July 2013

It's been a while now since new chef Jeremy Lee took over at Soho institution Quo Vadis, and even longer since the Hart brothers refurbishment that brought it back onto foodie radars after a decade of sliding standards. The space gives the impression of being bigger than it is. Room after room of fresh, clean and chic off-whites and brasses open up as you penetrate deeper while thick white table linens mute the noise from tightly packed neighbours, the majority of them the loud and jolly old boys of the advertising type I thought had abandoned Soho altogether. The little touches from the staff are delicately assured. There's still or sparkling filtered water, a banter if you need, an efficiency of clear and serve if you're obviously otherwise engaged and an eye for attention matched by some of the seasonal dishes on the well turned out rustic menu. And it's from that short menu that we grab a short but perfectly formed lunch. I wistfully but worthily skirt a chicken and guinea fowl pie, but suffer agonies when it turns up centimetres away on the neighbouring table, huge and gleaming, its buttery smell wafting over the slim divide between the tables. I'm also deeply envious of a huge hunk of bleeding ruby hued onglet steak that arrives next to it, served up with golden railway sleeper-like triple cooked chips. Thankfully, I get to sample some of those chips with one of the other substantial mains on offer. Coqulet isn't a bird you often see on restaurant menus. In these days of tightly managed animal husbandry too few young roosters, like their bovine equivalents, get out of early infancy. This one made a great case for them to hit more tables though. A hefty half bird was served simply roasted, with gloriously garlicky herb butter squashed into every crevice. Packed with taste, soft, supple and meaty, the bird is more than a match for its stuffing. Alongside that, there were two simple but effective fishy salads, both ostensibly starters, that worked well to create a combined main course. Young garlic shoots, crushed olives, peas and mint came together well, though the mint was a little overpowering. Beautifully cooked squid with asparagus was much better, a lovely mix of flavours and textures. It's an accomplished restaurant experience, as you'd expect from two of the capital's more accomplished restaurateurs, and has a quirky but polished charm that should ensure it retains its place near the top of the London dining pile this time round.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 03 March 2013

Assuming Quo Vadis is still going in 15 years time I will be bringing my godson here for his first swanky grown-up London restaurant experience and trying not to bore on too much about how I came here “in my youth” with his parents for a great meal. We'll battle through Soho streets, find the revolving door between the sex-shop and the latest oxygen bar, then step into a sophisticated world which hasn't changed since my last visit. The still smiling staff in the lobby will whisk us straight up to the “members only” feel bar and I'll order him an amazing cocktail while we lounge on the comfy sofas. Before it goes to his head we will head down to the lively dining room, picking our way through the well-heeled clientele (he'll be relieved I nagged him into wearing clean trousers), to our banquette table tucked away behind a glass screen at the back. The menu will baffle him a bit and I'll explain the meaning of “rissoles”, “sweetbreads” and “green salad”. Even though the menu changes daily (and we can tell as it says -5 degrees at the top today and it hasn't been that warm since the Big Freeze of 2015) by extraordinary coincidence I'll be able to have the delicious pheasant pie again with its crisp crust and gamey juice, after gorging on the same delicious pate nibbly starters. I will have insisted on ordering veggie sides and then remembered that they're not necessary and we're full now and can't fit in pudding which is a shame because rhubarb trifle or a little chocolate tart would have reminded me of a bygone era before even my own. We'll have downed a few glasses of new-world red (French wine's been banned since we exited the EU). We'll roll out into the night after a hefty bill inflated somewhat since the £55 a head I paid all those years ago and I'll give him £500 for the hovercraft ride back to his student digs in slummy Chelsea. Godson's parents, if you're reading, there is nothing Mrs Robinson about this, I promise. You can come too if you want, it's going to be great.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Richard E. platinum reviewer 13 July 2012

It may be a cliché, but it is true: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Given the gushing praise from others of the service, and specifically the front of house, I too had expected to be wafted through reception by an obsequious, yet sincere, immaculately groomed person, treating us like royalty. Alas, it could not have been further from reality. Having been propelled into the room via the wildly spinning door, there was nobody there to greet us. No worries, it was but a trice before Sam or Eddie (sorry, I can’t tell them apart) appeared, at which point we should have been greeted and wafted through reception like the royalty we so clearly are not. But no: somebody who had come in after us bounded in front, barging us aside and greeting Eddie or Sam like a long lost relative. Instead of acknowledging this with a quick “hi” then getting on with sorting us out, Sam or Eddie returned the salutation and disappeared into the restaurant with the beanie wearing bounder before we could say: “hi I have a reservation in the name of….”. It seems that this sycophancy to the regulars isn’t restricted to Eddie or Sam, as the chef too (serving a cheese plate when we arrived) spent more time glad-handing with a table of hysterical ladies-of-a-certain-age than behind the stove. Now I know that you have to keep your regulars happy, they are after all the mainstay of your establishment, but I eat out a lot, have spent more than my fair share of both mine and the marketing department’s budget at Fino and Barrafina, so how do Sam or Eddie expect me to become a regular if there is so clearly a two tier dining structure: those who we know and the rest? And I could well have become a regular: I have eaten here a couple of times before, both in its MPW days and the Early Hart Period, but, with the arrival of the most excellent Jeremy Lee at the stove (well, sort of), the cooking is the best that it has ever been here. Having eventually made it into the bar, it is clear that the room too has grown up; it has lost the Damien Hirsts that cluttered up the place, is lighter, airier, the tables are spread out sufficiently to allow space to talk without interference. The menu is pared down, St John style, with the names of the ingredients and no fuss: “ox liver, sage, onion”, “artichoke vinaigrette”, “onglet”, “middlewhite” etc. There is even a helpful weather forecast: it being summer, ours was “fine and deluge 16°C”. The squid and samphire salad, Linconshire Poacher with asparagus and the crab soup starters were all excellently prepared, extremely moreish and showed a superb understanding of ingredients. The saltiness of the samphire complimenting the mild flavours of the perfectly cooked squid; the richness of the crab bursting through; the strong cheese a perfect accompaniment to the asparagus: a British answer to the more usual parmesan. Mains too continued the theme: Ox liver a stronger version of calf, flavoured with long cooked down onions and some sage; lamb’s sweetbreads not overpowered by the accompanying almonds, offset perfectly by peas and mint. Whilst we couldn’t go the whole hog on the desserts, we had to try that ‘80s throwback: St Emilion au Chocolat: a pure chocolate slice, anointed with crunched up macaroons. No, of course we didn’t need it after all those chips, but it was bloody superb nonetheless. The wine list isn’t long, but is very well priced. In fact, even though you have to order sides separately, as none of the dishes comes with much more than the main ingredient identified, the total bill, whilst hardly a bargain, did not elicit the usual sharp intake of breath when it arrived. Along with the food, the standout advantage that QV has over all of the other (often more trendy) places popping up around this part of Soho is that it takes bookings. There is the de rigueur time restriction on how long you can sit, but at least you don’t need to bring a sleeping bag, thermos and umbrella to ensure that you don’t die of hyperthermia, starve or get soaked to the skin whilst waiting to be granted an audience with your food. If only I could be a regular, then it would be perfect.

 1