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The Wolseley Restaurant and Cafe - London, UK | Restaurant Review

More hype that it could live up to.


Restaurant Category : Breakfast/Brunch, Modern European

There are restaurants and café that become famous for different reasons; the mouth watering cuisine they serve, the astounding history they carry, the out-of-the world wine list they offer, the impeccable service they extend or for being a “celebrity” restaurant. The Wolseley was one that was often name dropped by high profile names. Being located in the beautiful building designed by William Curtis Green for Wolseley Motors Ltd in 1921, we were eager to visit this restaurant residing on the prestigious Piccadilly street that has created so much buzz since its opening as a restaurant and shop in November 2003.

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The First Impression: The Wolseley was a beautiful restaurant and created a magnificent first impression. The building from outside was charming and reminiscent of a time that spoke of elegance and sheer charm. The Venetian and Florentine detailing behind the architecture was evident. The inside was a different look to take in. Having been completely renovated, the visual aspects of the inside were different from that of the outside. No doubt it was posh and very high-brow, and that feeling carried through to today.

Décor and Ambience: The Wolseley offers a visual display of arches and stairways and high marbled pillars. The tall window and door frames with their arched styling were very grand. The floors were patterned in black and white and chandeliers dropped from the ceiling throwing lights from their crystal hold around the room. The wooden beams and cases gleamed with polish and the room was done in cream tones offset by curios displayed around. The room was all about grandeur and style; but somewhere it became a little forced and an aura of warmth, coziness and intimacy, that is so essential for a restaurant, seemed lost. I tried to take pictures so I could better share the atmosphere, but I was rudely told “no pictures”!

The Food: We were at The Wolseley for brunch. They served breakfast, afternoon tea, lunch and dinner. A separate vegetarian menu is available on request and there is also a separate wine list for those looking to enjoy a glass of chilled wine. The brunch menu offered soup, salads, eggs, caviar, sandwiches and more. One could opt for crispy a bacon roll or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or clear chicken soup or a lobster cocktail etc. There were different choices of tea such as cream tea, champagne tea etc besides the regular Earl Grey, Darjeeling tea and more. The food was substantial and tasty without being extraordinary. The prices were quite steep and did not justify the quality of food served at The Wolseley.

The Service: Service at The Wolseley was attentive, but not warm, not welcoming, but I got more of a sense that the quicker they could serve us the quicker they could “turn our table” and get additional guests in our seats. I was not impressed.

The Calculated Impression: The impression we were left with after our visit to The Wolseley was that you paid was more for the privilege of being at the restaurant than the actual fare and service. The lack of intimacy and service offer did not make us feel it was worth the price we paid. We were not suitably impressed with The Wolseley. Once again, we found a restaurant that just did not live up to the hype (or the prices). There are many better places in London to spend your time and money. Our rating for The Wolsely in London is Between Bombastic and Not.

What I liked: The décor and the old world charm it exuded.

What I didn’t like: The unfriendly service.

Rating: Between Bombastic and Not.

Address and Telephone Number:
The Wolseley
160 Picadilly
London- W1J 9EB

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