Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dinner at The Wolseley: Art Deco Glam on Piccadilly

One of the most glamorous spaces in London, or anywhere, for that matter, is The Wolseley, an all-day brasserie in the grand European tradition located in London's fashionable St. James neighbourhood along Piccadilly. The great brasseries of France are the most obvious inspiration for this enormously popular restaurant, but there are few places in Paris that can match The Wolseley for sheer panache. Originally a 1920s car showroom, it was built on such an extravagant scale that it actually bankrupted Wolseley Motors, however 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 the spectacular black, gold and cream Italian-influenced dining room. With a reputation for being packed with celebrities at all times of day, 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, celebrated by food critic A. A. Gill, who penned an entire book dedicated to 'Breakfast at The Wolseley'.

Our server Davide opening a bottle of Pommery Brut Royal

A very nice bubbley with lots of flavour

The brasserie-style menu with everything from caviar to Côte de Boeuf Bordelaise

Avocado Vinaigrette

Whelks with mayonnaise

Small glass of homemade mayonnaise

Davide opening our bottle of 2013 Bodegas La Horra Crimbo from Spain's Ribera del Duero

An elegant Tempranillo with rich and intense flavours and lingering length

Deep purple with great body, the Crimbo was delicious with our steaks

Medium rare Ayrshire 30-day dry aged Aberdeen Angus Filet served with béarnaise sauce, 
gem heart salad and pommes frites

Béarnaise Sauce

Gem Heart Salad 

Pommes Frites

Complimentary dessert from The Wolseley

Glass of light and dry Manzanilla Papirusa from Bodegas Lustau

Chopped Chicken & Tarragon Salad 
Serves 2 
Recipe courtesy of Chef Lawrence Keogh

1 endive
2 baby gem
2 oz red pepper
1 skinless chicken breast, cooked
1 avocado
1 3/4 oz broad beans, blanched and shelled
1 3/4 oz peas, blanched
3 oz tomatoes, seeded and diced 
1/4 tsp tarragon, chopped
1/4 tsp chervil, chopped

Wolseley House Dressing:
2 shallots
1 3/4 oz Dijon mustard
1/3 oz English mustard powder
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
12 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp caster sugar
3/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup olive oil
Lemon juice, to taste

Peel and slice the shallots into half-moons. Marinate for 24 hours with the mustards, vinegar, peppercorns, sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt.

The next day, blend with a stick blender and slowly pour in the two oils. Add a touch of warm water if the dressing becomes too thick. Adjust the seasoning with salt, white pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. This will make more than you need, so save the rest for another dish.

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