Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Saturday Lunch at The Wolseley on Piccadilly

Modelled on the grand cafés of Vienna, Milan and Paris, there are few places that can match The Wolseley for sheer elegance. Originally a 1920s car showroom, it was built on such an extravagant scale that it bankrupted Wolseley Motors. 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 Italian-influenced dining room. It has a reputation for being packed with celebrities at all times of day and booking a table is usually done weeks in advance. The glittering restaurant, which is open from breakfast to dinner since 2003, is the creation of Christopher Corbin and Jeremy King, the original owners of The Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheekey. The pair are big on the personal approach and often one or the other can be found working the room at lunch, dinner, during afternoon tea or even in the wee hours of the morning for the ever-popular Breakfast at The Wolseley — there's even a cookbook and fine set of crystal glasses or antique silverware available online! 


Lunch at the Wolseley is always an elegant affair

Warm and chewy, even the humble baguette-style breadsticks get the silver service 
at the Wolseley

Butter served in an elegant silver plate with a Wolseley wrapper

The extensive wine list with many served by the glass

2015 Jean-Francois Guilbaud Chateau La Bretonnerie Muscadet Sur Lie, 
the ideal wine to enjoy with oysters and fruits de mer

The Muscadet Sur Lie served in the Wolseley's fine crystal wine glass with 
short sturdy stem and a wide foot are actually sold online - 6 for £90.00

Dungarvan Rock Oysters and plump juicy Whelks served on crushed ice with fresh seaweed

A small pot of mignonette sauce and buttered bread served with the oysters

Homemade mayonnaise is served to enjoy with the whelks

Croustade of Quail Eggs and Hollandaise 

Chilled Minted Pea Soup - thick and delicious

Wiener Schnitzel with Sauce Robert

A tangle of golden Pommes Frites

Steak Tartare topped with an egg yolk with toasted pain de olé

Chilled Pea Soup with Shredded Radicchio and Romaine Lettuce
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of The Wolseley

1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 stick of celery, thinly sliced 
2 oz thinly sliced leeks
2 lb frozen peas 
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of mint
1 sprig of thyme
1 cup hot water 
1 lb ice cubes
Kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste
1/2 head Radicchio shredded finely
1 small Romaine lettuce heart, shredded finely
2 oz peas to garnish
3/4 cup olive oil 

Wrap the thyme, bay leaf and mint in a muslin bag. In a large pan, add a splash of water and simmer the onions, celery and leeks, then add the muslin herb bag. Place a lid over the pan and simmer, cooking the vegetables until they are just tender, about 5 minutes. Then add the the frozen peas and boiling hot water to the pan, cover with a lid and once boiling, cook for 2 minutes then remove the pan from the stove and add the ice cubes to cool it rapidly — this is important as it will maintain the colour.

Remove the muslin bag and blitz the soup in a liquidizer and pass through a conical strainer, then season with salt and ground white pepper. To Serve, reheat the soup and have four warm bowls ready. Pour into bowls sprinkle on the romaine lettuce hearts, radicchio lettuce and a sprinkle of peas. Drizzle with some olive oil and serve. 

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