It's an icon, a place to visit, an old flagship in London, The Wolseley is known to be one of the oldest cafes and restaurants in the capital, where hundreds of people are served every day. But I think people come here for the ambiance and not the taste.
On our third day in London, my friend, who has lived in the city, tells me that Wolseley is a must try, an experience more than a culinary extravaganza. So we went for breakfast.
The Wolseley is a restaurant located at 160 Piccadilly, London, next to the Ritz Hotel. Originally constructed in 1921 as a car showroom for Wolseley Motors, the Grade II listed building served as a branch of Barclays Bank between 1927 and 1999. It reopened as a restaurant in 2003 after extensive renovation work.
A large space filled with tables under a high ceiling in an old style decor from the last century: Metal, wood and stone creating an old style English cafe. A busy beehive throbs between the tables with the challenge of serving as quickly as possible so people can finish and leave space for the ones waiting in line.
The cafe menu:
- Coffee, tea and other beverages
- Breakfast and viennoiseries
- The English: Scrambled eggs with bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomato, black pudding and mushroom
- Cafe menu
- Savories and desserts
- Afternoon tea
- Wines and drinks
The lunch menu:
- Hors d'oeuvres
- Plat du jour
- Cheese and savories
Honestly, there was nothing exceptional about the food, but there are some things I have to tell you about. Commercial, oily, fatty with a lack of attention and a lack of finesse clear in all the plates.
- Cannelé: These cookies from Bordeaux were good with their crunchy border, chocolate flavor, moist body and fluffy heart.
- The croissants are not too good, not fluffy enough and not crunchy. Too buttery and too chewy.
- English breakfast: Not too appetizing to start with, but the mushrooms are very juicy, the eggs need salt and pepper and the bacon, which should be crispy, is chewy.
- Eggs Benedict: The sauce's flavor is a success, a very well done Hollandaise, but lacking some body. It's more of a soup than an egg sauce.
- Pancakes: Too thick, too chewy. I've surely had better.
- French toast: It might have been good for some, but I'm not a fan.
Old or not, special or whatever you've heard about this place, I'm not sure if I'd recommend it to anyone I know. Expensive, for nothing, and the food is not even special. I'll skip it next time I’m in London.