SECRET BRUNCH AWARDS
2 0 1 5 F I N A L I S T : T H E W O L S E L E Y
The Wolseley, an institution in it's own right. Serving brunch classics for over a decade, despite not having an official 'Brunch Menu'. The food got your vote, so we went to see what all the fuss was about.
Out of the early morning November mist that hangs over St James, we sought solitude in The Wolseley, an all-day café/brasserie with European flair. What once was a prestigious car company dating back to the 1920s has now been preserved in all its glory to the restaurant it is today and a throwback to the splendid grandeur of a by gone era.
We were expecting politicians to be shaking hands, directors canoodling with actresses, poets gazing out onto the rain, and the socialites, well socialising.
The Wolseley has the highest gross turnover of any individual restaurant in the UK, which explains why reservations are hard to come by. Between 7:30 and 9:15 on a Thursday morning, it was almost impossible to get a table, which is a great testament to the unique vision of Chris Corbin and Jeremy King.
We arrived for our highly anticipated reservation and were shown to our table for two. We navigated between the mature but chic clientele, while playing a game of ‘guess who’s who’- all there warming up for a day ahead.
We passed a table displaying the most gorgeous patisseries and pastries taunting us to try well, every little one.
How does one describe an institution? Well, brunch at The Wolseley is like stepping into an old English film. Slow but never dull, dim but never joyless. The grand and atmospheric interiors with arches, stairwells and marble flooring, took us back in time to the roaring 1920's and the famous Prohibition Brunch. Venetian with a bit of eastern exotic touches.
What does one start with at The Wolseley? Well, English breakfast tea of course. Even if it is just for the silver teapots, engraved tea strainers and elegant performances of the waiters, laying your table and ensuring your white linen napkin is at the perfect symmetrical angles.
Although The Wolseley doesn’t call it a 'brunch', the variety of brunch classics on offer does make it difficult to make a choice. You almost want to play a character from a great novel. What would they have ordered? The English Breakfast or the Eggs Benedict? Muesli, Porridge, Yoghurt selection or Fruit Salad? Or should we be lush and flamboyant and order the Caviar Omelette, Kipper, Haggis, Kedgeree or Lamb Kidneys? This is the Wolseley after all daaahling!
Our plan was to work our way backwards and start with the pastries that had been taunting us from the moment we walked in. Each pasty is a mini bite of heaven. From the Croissant to the Pain Au Chocolat.
The Amadine Pain Sucre Au Beurre Normand possessed an incredible crystalized sugar coating and a divine, yet subtle almond flavouring. It was beautiful, because it was unexpected. We take our imaginary top hat off to the Pastry chef.
Then it was time to move onto The English. Well presented, with grilled tomatoes, finely cooked crispy bacon, nicely textured mushrooms and 2 poached eggs.
Some may dislike the slightly charred tomatoes, but we loved the look, smell and the taste, adding that missing bitterness to the dish, and definitely worked well.
We also ordered The French Toast with blueberries, which were perfectly prepared and presented with a red berry coulis decorating the plate. It was of course served with maple syrup, which was a nice balance and contrast to the sweet yet tartness of the blueberries.
The majestic experience was coupled by the fine and luxury cutlery, serviette, and attention to detail, which most certainly was aligned with the expectations from such fine establishment.
S U M M A R Y
The Wolseley lives up to the hype and long standing reputation in terms of ambience, quality and service. Brunch at The Wolseley is an unbeatable experience. Only flaw is that they don't call it a 'Brunch'. Not yet anyway!
Our Verdict: Timeless Classic
Price: Ranging from £4 to £16
Service: Top, impeccable service
Will we go back? Indeed we shall
Vote HERE to crown The Wolseley as your 2015
Voting closes on 5th of December 2015.