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