The Handbook
The Handbook

What? Quaglino’s boozy Q brunch has been given an update and with no plans for the day, we took to Mayfair to indulge.

New? Certainly not, Quaglino’s has 88 years of heritage behind it, having first opened in 1929. Visited by the Queen in 1953 and subsequently by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Helena Christensen, Quaglino’s is known for its decadence, opulence and fun atmosphere. Back in 2014 it reopened following a £3m refurbishment and since whilst the Queen might not have been, Prince Harry has.

Where? 16 Bury Street, Mayfair, SW1Y 6AJ,

On the Menu: Much more than just avocado and eggs you’ll find the likes of pressed chicken terrine with pickled Shimeji mushrooms and toasted sourdough; saffron risotto with chili marinated goat’s cheese; cured ham ‘Croque Monsieur’ salad and for pudding, buttermilk panna cotta with iced blackberry and oat crumble.

The Look: From the street, you can’t see Quaglino’s, you need to descend the stairs where you’ll find yourself on a mezzanine looking down over the vast, buzzing restaurant. Quaglino’s isn’t modest, it’s bold, it’s making a statement. There are touches of Art Deco about it, namely the gold central bar that faces you as you descend the sweeping staircase. Behind the bar is a stage, where when we were having brunch, stood a rather unanimated DJ, although I’m told they often have live music, whilst around the outside of the room are plush, grey banquettes and booths.

What We Ate: You won’t find toast but you can start with a delicate dish of burrata dressed with sweet figs, leaves and honey and that’s much better. We followed with an equally pretty venison tartare, admittedly not something that you’d often describe as pretty, but this was decorated with leaves, chopped onions and gloriously golden yolks. And the chips that accompanied, were excellent, you’d think it’d be easy to get a chip right, but you’d be surprised how often you’re left disappointed.  For pudding there was a rich Valrhona dark chocolate fondant with Tonka bean ice cream and the toasted brioche crème brûlée cracked satisfyingly under our spoons.

What We Drank: As part of brunch you can add bottomless bubbles, which we of course did. We’re too set in our ways now to ever change, it’s fine though, drinking at brunch tends to make me rather sleepy and so by 4pm I’ll be asleep anyway and wake up hangover free.

Go With: It seems that to fit into Quaglino’s you either need to be dressed ready for a night out or in a rather loud group, though the two usually go together. Not surprising really given that the waitresses are all sporting in body-con dresses and heels. Go for a boozy birthday, hen do or to start your night out very early.

Final Word: I can’t imagine the Queen at Quaglino’s now, or certainly not at the bottomless brunch (she’d struggle with the stairs if nothing else), Quaglino’s is still opulent, the brunch still has a sense of occasion, this isn’t your average ‘roll out of bed’ brunch, it’s much more of a party brunch.

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Quaglino’s: 16 Bury Street, Mayfair, SW1Y 6AJ,