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Quaglinos

We have been to this D&D restaurant before and when asked to choose a good quality restaurant for non-Londoners in the vicinity of Green Park, Quaglino’s seemed the obvious answer. It is also worth mentioning that each year this restaurant hold an ‘Evening Standard’ budget friendly deal in February/March time, which does not lack on standards. In the Evening Standard deal we chose you get three courses and a glass of Laurent champagne for £25, not bad!

The restaurant is tucked behind Fortnum and Mason in a side street in Green Park and is not easy to find. Once you find Quaglinos it looks like a reception of an advertising/ PR agency or an art gallery as it has arty coloured glass and a white room with stairs leading downstairs to the cloack room. There are always a number of waiters at the entrance, one greets, one takes name, one takes coat and another one takes you to your seat. All this is very well orchestrated and doesn’t feel too cluttered surprisingly.

Diners are first taken through the bar, where we decided to have a drink before we were seated for dinner. The bar overlooks the restaurant and is a dark atmospheric blue. The bar is tucked in the corner with a dazzling array of liquors and spirits. There is a piano opposite the bar nestled in the adjacent corner. On the walls are black and white prints of Bob Marley which can be purchased.

This restaurant has an almost tier like format as each level goes deeper underground. Entrance first floor, cloakroom and bar on next floor and restaurant at the lowest level. From the bar diners get a good view of the large open plan restaurant. It is split in the middle by a wooden wall covered with extravagant yet stylish flowers.

After we had finished our aperitifs we asked to be taken to the restaurant. We were seated at a table at the end of the restaurant near the seafood kitchen. There is a clever system of mirrors on the ceiling, which enables diners to see the fresh fish lined up in ice as well as the fish monger shucking oysters at leisure. On the adjoining wall there is the main kitchen where the à la carte dishes are created. To be honest all D&D restaurants never fail to please; they are epitomised by stylish decor, professional waiters and well thought our British dishes.

We were served our glasses of champagne by a stylish French waiter and served bread while we chose our dishes.  We went for the gravadlax, cranberry compote, potato & chive salad, pumpkin and five spice soup (yes that ‘I like plain food’ soup loving friend was with us gain) and two of us ordered the maize fed chicken & muscat de rivesaltes terrine, toast. The terrines, which came out first, had huge juicy chuncks of ripped chicken meat  in a tasty muscat and mushroom jelly; just delicious. Chicken terrine was something new to me and although less smooth than a normal terrine was more meaty and delicious with charcoaled bread chucks. The soup (although I joke) was very tasty and the spices added a depth to the sweet earthy soup. The salmon was disappointingly small but was perfectly presented with chicory leafs and drips of purple and green pea sauce.

We had at this point drained our glasses of champers and so ordered a bottle of red. The waiter subtly took our starter dishes away and minutes later brought in the main course. We ordered chestnut mushroom risotto, mascarpone & parmesan, fillet of bream, tomato couscous, black olive & citrus dressing and braised featherblade of beef, parsley pomme puree, roasted button, onions & lardons.  I try to avoid feather steak as it is usually too delicate and medium cooked but this steak was more like braised cheeks. That is how tender and thick it was; I admit I had food envy – urgh. The risotto (again the ‘plain food’ lovers option obviously) was delicious. Again I wouldn’t choose that as I cook this at home but it really was full of flavour; intense, mushroomy and creamy. It really stood out as a winning dish despite its simplicity. My sea bream was thick and delicious, though slightly overcooked. It was a lot thicker than I expected and served with couscous that was citrusy and Middle Eastern in flavour. It was speckled with black olives and really worked. An unusual option for me to chose but I don’t regret it for a second.

We had a three course menu in the deal so ordered vanilla pannacotta, red plum syrup and treacle tart.  While the waiter took our order I asked why there were prints of Bob Marley as well as images projected onto a wall of him and his fellow reggae stars. We asked the waiter if there was a reason for this and unfortunately he was French and had difficulty understanding me. Eventually after some more explaining, which included a lot of shouting and waving of hands, we got our message accross and he just said he had no idea why and that he will ask his manager. I swiftly said no forget it and he just looked confused. I coughed and carried on our conversation. Our desserts came out swiftly and were delicious. My panacotta was creamy flecked with vanilla pod seeds and the treacle tart was nice. I am not a big fan of treacle tart as it is far far too sweet but those who ordered it said it was one of the best they had.

The food was so well presented, tasted so delicious and the service was great. I normally have no complaints for D&D restaurant as they are usually faultless, but none have ever left me with that wow feeling, I am not sure why. Definitely good, perfect but not quite exceptional. As a result we were completely satisfied with food, service, atmosphere and definitely the price so Sex drugs and Bacons gives Quaglino’s:

            Food                       Atmosphere                       Service

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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