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Summary

Fans “love the glimmering glamour” of this big D&D-group basement in St James’s – “make sure you dress up!” As it hots up though, the noise can be “overwhelming”, and prices are scary for food that’s so “average”.

£72
Poor
Poor
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Summary

Fans hail the “third coming” of this “glitzy” D&D London veteran – relaunched in 2014 with more regular entertainment – applauding its “much busier and buzzier” vibe in particular; its ratings are still dragged down though by too many “very, very average” reports.

£65
Average
Average
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Summary

For years, this guide pointed out that this once-glamorous St James’s brasserie was in ever more desperate need of refurbishment… and its owners, the D&D Group, finally got round to completing precisely that that in mid-2014; let’s hope for major improvement – there was certainly plenty of scope!

£65
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Summary

“A dinosaur!”; the early ’90s – when this St James’s basement was a byword for glamour – are a bygone age, and this “tired” brasserie can strike today’s reporters as having “absolutely nothing to commend it”; come on D&D – time for the revamp!

£65
Poor
Average
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Have you eaten at Quaglino’s?

Restaurant details

Highchair, Menu,
No
Yes
10.30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 pm
No trainers

Quaglino’s Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of Quaglino’s Restaurant in SW1, London by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of Quaglino’s restaurant.
Ciaran W
Buzzing, fun venue for some pre theatre din...
Reviewed 4 months, 7 days ago

"Buzzing, fun venue for some pre theatre dinner. Beef was particularly good"

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Martin G
Our party of six received very bad service ...
Reviewed 6 months, 16 days ago

"Our party of six received very bad service throughout the evening. We sent back 4 of the main courses as they were cold. Over priced. All style no content."

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Jan E
Excellent not to loud entertainment made th...
Reviewed 7 months, 22 days ago

"Excellent not to loud entertainment made the sunday brunch a very pleasant experience. Of two starters the lobster bisque turned out beat. My braised beef was cooked well and so was the fish of my company. The side orders were the real trat with yummy carrots, excellent spinage and green sweet tomatoes."

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Harden's says...

Quaglino's SW1
A relaunched St James’s classic offering a decent ‘Big Night Out’ experience at pretty reasonable prices; dishes were inconsistent on our early-days visit, but those who choose carefully can eat well.

Quag's’ – a vast restaurant of some 300 seats, hidden away in the heart of St James’s – has, since its opening in the ’20s, always had the potential to be a special sort of place. In the ’50s, the Queen went, which was as rare a mark of recognition then as it would be today.

The site had various owners over the years, and was relaunched by Conran Restaurants in 1993 – a brave move when there was no West End restaurant ‘scene’ in the way people now take for granted. It has remained in the same ownership (now under the name of D&D London) ever since.

Conran, or Sir Terence as he subsequently became, certainly knew a bit about marketing, and the glamour of this vast restaurant, – and the cigarette girls, of course – soon made it the talk of the town. Perhaps he was too successful – in our 1993 guide, one reporter was already sniffing that “the hype hit the suburbs so fast that they have taken over”.

And so began a long period of decline and, it seemed, neglect. By 2009, the guide was describing every aspect of the restaurant as “embarrassing”; in more recent years, we began explicitly to call for a relaunch.

And lo and behold! Out has gone the rather spare and ’90s interior, and in comes a dark and clubby feel which is much more congenial – when the band kicked off (around 10.30), the transition felt entirely natural. So does the fact that the uniforms of the friendly staff all seem to incorporate some element of (literal) spangle – it’s rather as if this heart-of-SW1 spot has recognised from the beginning that its future lies in the suburbs, and has decided honestly to embrace it.

In that context, the menu is appropriate, in the sense that there’s nothing new or interesting on it, but it reads enticingly enough, and includes some quite reasonably-priced dishes. The bread rolls and the starters set a consistently good note: a lobster velouté, for example, had an impressive depth of flavour.

Meaty mains up-and-down – a rib eye and a pork belly dish were approved, whereas the duck was chewy and the venison rather lacking in taste. The only pudding we had space for, a Crème Catalane as it was described, was a touch sickly. But the espresso was much better than at many more obviously foodie establishments. It’s early days, and only time will tell whether our glass was half-full or half-empty.

The wine list is a bit of a disappointment – how odd that a restaurant with such a history boasts a list on which most bottles are barely out of nappies! – but at least it kicks off sub-£20. Well done for that.

So, should you go? Well, the presence of Prince Harry at an adjoining table suggests that Quag’s is again going to have a moment in the sun, at least as seen through the lenses of the paparazzi. Only history will relate how long that moment can last.
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16 Bury St, London, SW1Y 6AJ
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Opening hours

L noon - 3 pm, D 5.30 pm - midnight, Fri & Sat 1 am
Last orders: 10.30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 pm

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