Founded by Giovanni Quaglino in 1929, Quaglino’s has long been a symbol of decadence. Loved by royals, celebrities and the public alike, dining here has always had an air of exclusivity.
In the 1950s the restaurant was said to have had a table permanently reserved for the regular visits by Princess Margaret, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra. Other notable royals who have graced the establishment include Queen Elizabeth, King Edward VIII, and most recently, Prince Harry. And what’s a hip place without a celeb following? Celebs who have visited include Judy Garland, Barbara Cartland, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Benedict Cumberatch, Alexa Chung and Lindsay Lohan, to name a few.
In the 90s Quaglino’s was revered as the hottest restaurant in town to see and be seen, thanks to it being a favourite spot of Ab Fab characters Patsy and Eddie and its reputation as a place to let your hair down in style. The signature ‘Q’ ashtrays that were scattered throughout the bar, were often nicked by guests as they were seen as a status symbol. Rumour has it that over the years more than 25,000 ‘Q’ ashtrays 'mysteriously' disappeared.
Today, Quaglino’s retains its style and charm thanks to a £3 million facelift by owners D&D London in 2014. There is a sense of 1920s grandeur throughout the restaurant, thanks to intimate lighting and a moody colour palette of charcoals, burgundy and gold, which creates a sexy atmosphere. As guests sip cocktails in the upstairs bar, they can relax on black quilted leather banquettes, which encourage you to stay a bit longer than you probably should.
Even the bathrooms are seriously stylish with striking monochrome zigzag decor, which has given us serious bathroom design envy.
At the heart of the restaurant is a grand staircase with illuminated stairs with a gold tortoise shell design, that simply begs for guests to make a fabulous entrance as they shimmy down the stairs to the dining room below. The expansive dining room is an impressive space with a circular gold bar and a stage flanked by red velvet curtains, which serve as key focal points. Each night guests can enjoy performances by either live bands or a DJ, which adds to the sense of occasion.
Saturday brunch at Quaglino's
We visited on a Saturday afternoon for the Q Brunch (available Saturdays and Sundays from 11.30am-2.30pm). If you’re feeling festive, there is the option to add unlimited prosecco for £18 per person, when eating two courses or more for the duration of your meal.
The Saturday brunch offering features standard options such as Eggs Benedict, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs (a safe bet), sandwiches (croque monsieur or demoiselle), a variety of fish dishes (sea bream, cod, stone bass), a sirloin steak and egg or venison tartare and oysters as well as a selection of sides and desserts.
The salad with mozzarella, tomatoes, nectarines and endive was fresh and light and the croque monsieur in all its cheesy, carby glory is the perfect cure if you’ve indulged a bit too much the night before.
Service is top-notch, as you’d expect, and is refreshingly friendly rather than stuffy, which makes it all the more welcoming.
We’ll definitely be making a repeat appearance, but next time we’ll be indulging in dinner and sipping classic cocktails. Get your glad rags on and give it a go – it’s the cat’s whiskers.
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