There are few places that can match The Wolseley for sheer elegance. Modelled on the grand cafés of Vienna, Milan and Paris, The Wolseley is the London creation of Jeremy King and Christopher Corbin, the original restaurateurs behind the Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheekey. Originally a 1920s car showroom, it was built on such an extravagant scale that it bankrupted Wolseley Motors. These days, swift black-clad waiters now glide across the gleaming marble floor, carrying groaning platters of fruits de mer, steak frites and lobster bisque between the pillars and archways of this gorgeous Italian-influenced dining room morning, noon and night. It has a reputation for being packed with celebrities at all times of day and booking a table is usually done months in advance, even for lunch.
A chilled glass of Pommery Brut Royal NV Champagne
Housemade baguettines served in a silver cup
The Wolseley lunch and dinner menu
Onion and Comté Cheese Tart with frisée lettuce
Deep Fried Scampi with Tartare Sauce
The tartare sauce is served in a small chilled silver bowl with a matching mini silver ladle
Pommes Frites arrive nestled in a linen napkin and tucked in a silver cup
Romemary Roasted Chicken with Pommes Rissolees
Recipe courtesy of Lawrence Keogh, head chef at The Wolseley
This is one of The Wolseley's classic brunch dishes but would be wonderful at any time of the day: creamy, buttery curried rice and chunky flakes of haddock, topped with a rich, runny poached egg. It's heavenly. Serve with some fresh crusty bread or a green salad.
For the madras curry paste:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/2 fl oz white vinegar
For the haddock and rice:
18 fl oz milk
1 onion, cut in half
2 bay leaves
1lb smoked haddock fillet, pin boned
1lb basmati rice
2 tsp turmeric
For the sauce:
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
3 1/2 fl oz sunflower oil
2oz madras curry paste from the above
1 red chilli, chopped
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
14 fl oz cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 free-range eggs
1 tsp white wine vinegar, for poaching
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1 3/4 oz butter, melted
1 bunch coriander cress, for garnish - optional
For the madras curry paste, toast the coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chilli powder and turmeric in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. When they start to pop and crackle in the pan, add the peppercorns and toast for another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Add the ginger and garlic to the spice mix and place in a mini blender or pestle and mortar. Add the vinegar and blend or pound to a smooth paste.
For the haddock and rice, place the milk and 500ml/18fl oz water in a large pan. Stud each half of the onion with a clove and bay leaf then add to the milk and bring to the boil.
Place the haddock in a deep roasting tin and pour over the hot milk. Cover with cling film very quickly to seal in the steam and heat. Set aside for approximately 45 minutes.
Remove the cling film and transfer the haddock to a plate. Remove the fish skin and any bones and leave it chunky and as whole as possible.
Wash the rice several times until the water becomes clear. Add the rice, 1 litre/1¾ pint water and the turmeric to a pan and bring to the boil. When boiled cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Set aside for 20 minutes, then spread the cooked rice over a tray to cool.
For the sauce, in a large pan gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger in the sunflower oil until the onions are light golden-brown. Add the madras paste and cook for five minutes then add the chilli, star anise and bay leaf. Add 100ml/3½fl oz water and simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by half.
Add the double cream and simmer for 10 minutes then transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, transfer the sauce to a pan and bring to a simmer. Add the rice and gently reheat. Fold in three-quarters of the haddock and heat through.
Meanwhile, fill a large pan with boiling water and the white wine vinegar, and poach the eggs to your liking.
At the last minute, add the remaining haddock and chopped parsley and serve in warm bowls with a poached egg on top. Finish with a spoonful of melted butter, a sprinkle of coriander cress and a little salt and pepper.