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Wolseley

160 Piccadilly, London , England, W1J 9EB, United Kingdom

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The Wolseley has become a London institution, based in what was once a bank with a lovely, high-ceilinged dining room in a great location just along from The Ritz. The mostly French wine list has just over 50 labels, ranging in price from £19.75 to £235, with a median price of £42 a bottle and an average mark-up 2.9 times the retail price, which is pretty average for central London and less than you will often see in Mayfair. As is usual, the mark-up levels were much kinder at the high end of the wine list. Example wines were Bianco di Custoza 2011 Monte del Fra at £23 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £8.40, Sancerre 2010 Domaine de la Chézatte at £43.50 for a wine that retails at £14.40, and Brunello di Montalcino 2005 Pian dell’Orino at £78.50 compared to a shop price of around £39.60.

A salad Nicoise (£11.50) was a rather lazy affair, with tinned tuna, boiled egg, tastless tomatoes and artichokes, decent lettuce, a few beans and hardly any olives – this was edible but was very ordinary (11/20). Wiener schnitzel (£19.75) was better, the meat having reasonable flavour, though the batter was a little on the soggy side (13/20). Pommes frites (£4.25) were thin and reasonably crisp, if undersalted (14/20). The best thing I tried was the lemon tart, which was actually quite good, with well-made pastry and a good balance to the lemon filling, with a pleasing level of acidity but not too sharp (perhaps 15/20). Service was functional at best, but at least was better than on my last visit. Overall the Wolseley is something of a machine, processing large numbers of diners with efficiency rather than any great charm, the food being consistent and competently made, but no more than that. However the glorious setting and appealing menu ensure that it is constantly packed, even for breakfast.


Further reviews: 01st Jan 2006

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  • Max

    I only had lunch there once, which was all right. However I was very disappointed by the dessert. We ordered a Kaiserschmarren (a famous Austrian dish) and what arrived was just a fluffy pancake. Why they call it Kaiserschmarren when it had absolutely nothing in common with the real thing was beyond me.

  • alan fowle

    Having dished St Alban slightly recently although this place hardly needs my recommendation there are a couple of areas that Andy mentions that have certainly improved since Andy last reviewed. First , most importantly the service which on the last 4 occasions we have been here over the last few months is now as good as it could be for such a busy restaurant - quite personal and friendly - clearly they have made an effort to work on this, As regards the coat situation- well we did use the cloakroom and we are part of the faceless non -celeb world they they do have some of my favourites here on the menu -wiener schnitzel a passion for which began as a schoolboy on a visit to Munich where they used to give you 2 portions - one always in reserve-but fresh oysters beautifully presented on ice and the decent lemon tart are all food to enjoy - the buzz and pleasure one gets from being in a successful restaurant is a big plus One does not come here for "fine dining" its a default place when its late or early in the evening . Incidentally their much vaunted breakfasts like the one at the Ritz almost next door are nothing you would write home about-mushrooms are one big washy tasteless one the tomatoes of course not properly cooked etc - again why cant these places do the simple things well?

  • papillon

    In my view, The Wolseley is about convenience and comfort-food more than anything else. The setting is stunning, but the service and the food are not bad but really nothing to write home about. Like most "trendy" places they have developed the nasty habit of giving you a "time-slot" when you make your reservation: in essence they are telling you when to arrive and when to leave. On my last visit there I really felt that the waiters were doing everythnig possible to turn tables as quickly as possible. Maybe they forgot they were in the "hospitality" industry.... . Prices are high so value for money is poor in my opinion. As I said earlier this place is about convenience, so given their location, opening times and vast menu it will always be busy.

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