RestaurantsLondonMayfairW1

survey result

Summary

£68
  £££
2
Average
3
Good
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Always buzzing whatever the time of day”: Corbin & King’s “magnificent” Grand Café near The Ritz remains a linchpin of metropolitan life; the capital’s No. 1 venue for a business meal – especially breakfast; and “a must-visit” for anyone getting to know London. “The space always impresses” – a converted Edwardian car-showroom that provides a “uniquely London” take on a “vast Belle-Époch-style brasserie”. It has “the right cosmopolitan feel” to lend an air of sophistication to any meal, plus “familiar faces from media and TV” to inject further excitement. “There’s a huge menu, so you’ll always find something you fancy”, but while its “retro”, “comfort” cuisine (with a Mittel-European twist) is “served with urbane panache”, it is widely acknowledged by regulars that the dishes themselves are “uninspired” and taste “to be honest, average”. But who cares? “It is hard not to love this place”. Top Tip – “A grand setting for a quintessential and well-priced afternoon tea experience”.

Summary

£68
  £££
2
Average
3
Good
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Always buzzing whatever the time of day”: Corbin & King’s “magnificent” Grand Café near The Ritz remains a linchpin of metropolitan life; the capital’s No. 1 venue for a business meal – especially breakfast; and “a must-visit” for anyone getting to know London. “The space always impresses” – a converted Edwardian car-showroom that provides a “uniquely London” take on a “vast Belle-Époch-style brasserie”. It has “the right cosmopolitan feel” to lend an air of sophistication to any meal, plus “familiar faces from media and TV” to inject further excitement. “There’s a huge menu, so you’ll always find something you fancy”, but while its “retro”, “comfort” cuisine (with a Mittel-European twist) is “served with urbane panache”, it is widely acknowledged by regulars that the dishes themselves are “uninspired” and taste “to be honest, average”. But who cares? “It is hard not to love this place”. Top Tip – “A grand setting for a quintessential and well-priced afternoon tea experience”.

Summary

£63
  £££
2
Average
3
Good
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Still the best place to take friends from abroad…”, “Still the best place for a business power breakfast…”, “Still the absolute best buzz in London!” – Corbin & King’s Grand Café near The Ritz is still at the centre of metropolitan life: a “highly tuned, effective and bustling brasserie” where the “fabulous room” means it “always feels like a glamorous treat”; and where the “interesting crowd” typically includes a few famous faces. Its “comprehensive menu” of comfort food (with some Mittel-european specials) is “not out-of-this-world” and has never aimed to be, but is generally “well executed and presented”. That said, laurel-resting is an ever-present danger here, and there were one or two more “underwhelming” meals reported this year. Likewise, while on most accounts “everything is so slick”, there have also been a few more reports recently of “mixed” and/or “brusque” service. Top Tip: “a good traditional afternoon tea, which (unlike so many places nowadays) doesn’t cost the earth”.

Summary

£62
  £££
3
Good
4
Very Good
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Always bustling” and “a real occasion” – Corbin & King’s “large, continental and sophisticated” Grand Café near The Ritz is “a marvellous, metropolitan meeting point” not least for the capital’s movers ’n’ shakers (it’s “great for subtle star-spotting!”) for whom the “courteous and very professional service” helps make it the town’s No. 1 choice for business. The “brasserie comfort food is unambitious but well done”, and it’s as “a go-to venue for breakfast” (it’s “THE place in London”) that it particularly shines. Another Top Tip – “afternoon tea to die for”.

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Have you eaten at The Wolseley?

Restaurant details

Yes
Highchair, Portions
14
170
Yes

Prices

Traditional European menu

Starter Main Veggies Pudding
£11.00 £19.00 £6.00 £7.50
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £26.50
Filter Coffee £3.35
Extras  
Service 12.50%

Harden's says...

The Wolseley W1

Starting with Le Caprice in 1981, Jeremy King and Christopher Corbin built up one of London's most impressive restaurant empires of recent times. By the time they finally exited in 2002 - several million pounds richer - the group included no fewer than three of the five most popular restaurants in town (The Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheekey).


How to follow such an act? The answer turned out to The Wolseley. Occupying a vast Edwardian building near the Ritz - built as a showroom for Wolseley Motors, but for most of the last century a grand Barclay's Bank - the place was certainly a 'wow' when, two years ago, it opened for business. London's dining public, after all, is unaccustomed to grandeur. Was this our answer to New York's Four Seasons, or Paris's Train Bleu? The newcomer certainly gave the initial impression that it might be a fit emblem for a city with pretensions to being the restaurant capital of the world. And if the food and service were a bit up-and-down - well, hey, it was early days.


It is no longer early days. True, the place is still hailed in some circles as something of a glamour destination, but standards of food and service over the past two years - as recorded by our surveys - have never risen much above good-to-middling. More worryingly, they have seemed, if anything, to be on a downwards path. If our recent meal is anything to go by, this slide continues.


Our first impression was in fact a non-impression. No Corbin or King. In most restaurants, you neither notice nor care if the gaffers are absent. Here you do, as it's part of the 'package'. It wouldn't really have mattered so much if the service had been any good, but, while pleasant, staff were often absent (or, if present, oblivious to customer needs). On the food front too, something was not quite there, in one case literally - partridge with bacon, the special of the day, was (inexplicably) served as partridge without bacon. It made a good emblem for a meal that rarely rose above mundane. Despite the architectural richness, that ambience similarly lacked pizzazz.


Including a couple of (very good) martinis, and a (rather disappointing) bottle of Dao (£45), the bill for two mounted to no less than £150 (including tip). So it was a good thing we knew we had enjoyed what is still sometimes tipped as one of London's great restaurant experiences. Otherwise, we might just have felt rather ripped off.


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160 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EB
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Opening hours
Monday7 am‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑12 am
Tuesday7 am‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑12 am
Wednesday7 am‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑12 am
Thursday7 am‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑12 am
Friday7 am‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑12 am
Saturday8 am‑3:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑12 am
Sunday8 am‑3:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑11 pm

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