Once a brothel and a home to Karl Marx (though not at the same time), no restaurant embodies the frivolity of Soho quite like Quo Vadis. The restaurant has passed through various hands over the years - it was run in partnership by Marco Pierre White and Damien Hirst up until 2007, but since then has been under the watchful gaze of Sam and Eddie Hart, the brothers behind the phenomenally successful Barrafina restaurants, among others.
One of the Hart Brothers' first moves was to bring in Jeremy Lee as head chef and in doing so, they kick-started a new era for the restaurant that has put it back on the map as one of London's most essential visits. Lee had built a reputation for pared-back British cooking at The Blueprint Cafe, and breathed new life into Quo Vadis with his rustic, generously-portioned British classics. Quo Vadis was right at the heart of an era where London fell back in love with classic British cooking.
The old restaurant safekeeps a great deal of history, but it is bright and spacious with windows that look onto Dean Street and plush leather banquettes that remain comfortable for well over a two hour sitting. The restaurant is open to the public, but Quo Vadis has long been a private members club too, and you'll also find two bars and a litany of nooks and crannies hidden away in its labyrinthine passageways.
The menu is seasonal, and sticks largely to great British and Mediterranean produce. Gentle, rustic dishes like chickpea, black cabbage and celeriac soup, and braised shoulder of pork with beans, carrots and cabbage come and go on the menu alongside old favourites - Lee's famous smoked eel sandwich (served with plenty of fresh horseradish and pickled red onion) is always on the menu, as is a pie of the day. Cocktails are also excellent - Quo Vadis makes a famous negroni but arrive early to take advantage of a fantastic aperitivo selection.