It’s the Restaurant Festival in London! That means all those fancy places with their $30 dishes suddenly become a little bit more affordable. Last year, I missed Restaurant Week in New York, but this year I saved up to go somewhere nice. This week is also my friend’s birthday, so there was a good excuse to round up a bunch of people to go enjoy some good food. The birthday girl chose the restaurant that would entertain 12 hungry souls: Quaglino’s.
When I first walked into Quaglino’s, I definitely felt the grandeur of the restaurant. It’s one of those places where you feel inadequate if you’re not wearing a dress, collared shirt, or blazer. Seeing all the dressed up couples, I instantly felt bad that we had a party of 12 people. Luckily, the waiters were nice and managed to squeeze us all into one table.
At Quaglino’s the Restaurant Festival special includes a two-course meal and a glass of champagne for £20. You can choose to have any combination of appetizer, main course, and dessert as part of the two-course option. All of us opted to have a main course and a dessert. The great thing about having a lot of people is that you can try a lot of different dishes. I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. With the dim lighting inside the restaurant, pictures were a bit difficult.
The first option was the fillet of sea trout with vine tomato and three bean salad. The skin on the fish was nicely crispy, and the fish itself was coated in a flavorful tomato sauce. The salad portion was a bit lacking. Everyone who ordered this dish only got two cherry tomatoes each.
The second option was the corn fed chicken with buttered savoy cabbage and oyster mushroom cream. The mushroom cream paired very well with the chicken and cabbage. There’s not much to say about this dish because it was straight-forward. One person at the table did wonder, though, whether a dish like this one was really worth the price.
Another main course option was the pan roasted calves liver with parsley mash and sage jus. I’m not a fan of liver, but the one person who ordered this dish really like it. There was a generous portion of parsley mash, but I felt like the soft texture of the liver and the soft mash was just too much together. Again, this may be because I’m just not a fan of liver. The sage jus was excellent, and I wished that I had some bread just to dip into the sauce.
The final option was the pea and mint risotto, which I personally ordered. The risotto was creamy, and I appreciated the shavings of parmesan on top. I was so full just after this dish, meaning that the risotto was creamy, and rightly so. Everyone who ordered a meat dish couldn’t help but grab a bite from those who ordered the risotto.
For dessert, there were four options: strawberries and cream, chocolate tart with orange and grand marnier syrup, lemon posset with marjoram and blackberry foam, and a raspberry parfait. No one ordered the last two options, and I forgot to get a picture of the strawberries and cream. The chocolate tart was very rich, and I ended up giving half of mine to somebody else. I thought that the tart would have a syrup drizzled on top, but there were actually orange pieces on the side which had been soaked in the syrup. They were very sweet but tasty when eaten together with the tart.
Quaglino’s is a gorgeous restaurant with great service. We had a party of 12 people, and all the waiters who served us were helpful and patient. They also did a great job of explaining the menu to us and didn’t mind repeating things. The food is pretty good as well. Some of the dishes, though, made us question whether we were getting a good value, but I would still recommend Quaglino’s if you’re looking for something fancier.
16 Bury St
London, Greater London SW1Y 6AJ
Lunch: Monday – Saturday: 12.00pm – 3.00pm
Dinner: Monday – Thursday: 5.30pm – 10.30pm
Friday – Saturday: 5.30pm – 11.00pm