“Always an excellent dining experience”, says a happy reader, one of many who return “time and time again” to this delightful stalwart of the London restaurant scene. Part of the Corbin & King stable, which also includes The Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel (among others), The Wolseley follows in the tradition of European grand cafés, with a flexible menu that works “whatever the hour or day”.
Breakfast is always an event, with an extensive choice including grilled kippers with mustard butter, eggs Benedict, a full English and our all-time favourite: fried haggis and duck egg, although there are also virtuous fruit and muesli options, impeccable pastries – and a complementary newspaper.
As the day progresses, you might lunch on smoked duck salad, dressed Cornish crab, steak tartare or coq au vin, or maybe drop in for a decadent Champagne afternoon tea with fruit scones, jam and clotted cream – “all served with great style and panache”, though we prefer the Monday-Friday, suited-and-booted Mayfair vibe to touristy weekends. (The Wolseley is brilliantly located for the Royal Academy, National Gallery, Bond Street and Buckingham Palace.)
There are top-notch dinners to be had, too, with recent highlights including plump little Isle of Skye queen scallops in a sweet and zesty lemon and herb dressing, classic calf’s liver and bacon with creamy mash and sauce Robert, and a gut-busting banana split with butter chocolate sauce – as well as dishes such as wiener schnitzel and chopped liver that pay lip-service to the Mitteleuropean inspiration.
A brigade of slick staff perform perfectly choreographed service around the dramatically handsome, high-ceilinged room, which attracts a chattering mix of regulars, creatives, celebs and shoppers. Yes, it’s buzzy and loud (“in a good way”), but that just adds to the fun, notes one visitor. In short, we’re in agreement with the fan who reckons this is “the number one brasserie in London”.