Do you ever wake up and feel fantastic? Like, really fantastic. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Today is the day you’ll finally quit smoking and write that screenplay. But then as the hours go by you start flagging. You begin to suspect that, despite the great start, it’s all downhill from here? Yes. Because great mornings can turn into not-so great days. Which brings us on to The Wolseley.
Starting your day with breakfast here is glorious. You’ll walk past Green Park, up to their beautiful double door entrance, the doorman will let you in, and as you first glimpse this huge jaw-dropper of a space, you’ll think that getting this kind of treatment before your first coffee of the day is a human right. It’s a big, converted 1920s car showroom. It’s grand and bright, but just a little medieval thanks to the black pillars, vaulted ceiling, and huge wrought iron chandeliers.
You’ll walk in and see a couple hundred people starting their day in pretty much the best way you can in this city. Business breakfasts over seasonal berry pancakes that are as thick as a bible. Groups of tourists with a round of full english that come served on something that looks more like a TV tray than a plate. Maybe some people starting their birthday with viennoiserie and eggs benedict. At the base of it, it’s eggs, smoothies, coffee, porridge, and bacon, but on it’s best days, breakfast at The Wolseley is an experience you’re not likely to forget.
Later in the day this place becomes one of London’s most popular afternoon tea destinations. Honestly, more mums are brought here for scones and finger sandwiches in a single month, than copies of The Hungry Caterpillar sold per year. Probably. There are a whole bunch of different options which means you can go affordable and lowkey, or all-out champagne fest. It isn’t quite as special as the breakfast, but the fact that it’s always lively and you’re in a space that feels part vintage Grand Central Station and part Cribs: God Special, makes it the kind of good times experience where your pinky will be twitching to stand to attention. Want to show that out of towner who’s obsessed with The Crown something that’s peak British? Go ahead, book it.
But then a few hours tick by, and like a giant, pumped up, caviar wielding werewolf, The Wolseley takes a turn. The menu is great - it’s a bit like interrailing across Europe over wine. A little trip to France for escargots a la bourguignonne, then onto Italy for a panzanella salad, up to Austria for wiener schnitzel, and eventually back to old Blighty for crumble. It’s comfort food dressed up in it’s Sunday best, but that lively morning spirit has turned into stress. Maitre D’s having a huddled, but loud, moan about the rich people that have pissed them off that day. Quick fire starters and then a long wait for dessert to appear. Even a seat up on their lovely mezzanine can’t compensate for service that is more time-for-a-nap than time-for-a-party.
By the time you’ve waited twenty minutes for the bill, you’ll want to tuck The Wolseley into bed with a hot chocolate and tell them to calm down, get some rest. But don’t worry, we’ll see you again in the morning.
Short of having Olivia Coleman serenade you with God Save The Queen over your toast, this is the most British way you can start your day. Yes, it’s £18.75, but it’s a huge portion, and if you’re rolling here as a pair, sharing this and another dish is an excellent game plan.
Think of this eggs benedict as the same as setting your alarm to Feeling Good by Nina Simone. It’s really hard to have a bad morning if you’re eating this.
Pancake thickness: Infatuation Approved. There are also enough berries that mean you can go heavy on the syrup without it getting sickly. Want something savoury? Treat breakfast like dinner and follow your eggs with these for ‘dessert’.
The dumplings and chicken are pretty good, but there’s an edge of ‘someone has themselves a salt shaker and isn’t afraid to use it’ going on. Still, a great starter to dip some of the freshly baked complimentary bread in.
You can either go with the small portion of this breaded bad boy - yes, we said breaded bad boy - or go large for £25.50. It’s tasty but not £25.50 tasty, so go for the £14.25 portion and get involved in some creamed mash and green beans instead.
Honestly like a party in your mouth and only cheese is invited. Definitely one to order, and also definitely one to share.
Finish your meal with this. A tasty little number with some proper custard.