Quaglino’s in the heart of St. James’s oozes style from the moment you set eyes on it.
As I entered, I greeted my guest for the evening, K, but I was distracted in awe of our new surroundings.
It was clear that there is something for everyone at Quaglino’s. To our right a bustling bar with glamorous looking cocktails, sofas, and a dance floor at our disposal. Beneath us was the main restaurant dining room floor, abuzz with vibrant live music playing crowd-pleasing favourites to which K could not stop singing along to all night.
The scene was set for an enjoyable evening but of course we were there with a purpose – to sample the new cocktail menu.
Wishes was specially crafted in honour of Quaglino’s 90th anniversary combining the elegance the bar and restaurant has accrued after 90 years as a Mayfair institution with the innovative and sparky creative flair of the bar team.
The names of the cocktails themselves denote the thought that has gone into devising the menu. [I wish for] No Borders seems particularly poignant, given our current political climate and is true to its name, made with Brazilian banana liquor, Spanish sherry, Italian Montenegro liquor, scotch whisky and American peanut butter, all fused together seamlessly. I believe it is a telling sign of a good cocktail that despite the plethora of ingredients on the menu the flavours blend into one cohesive taste.
K was tempted by our waiter’s recommendation of a gin-based cocktail and was certainly not disappointed. Her [I wish for] Spring was fittingly bright pink in appearance and flawless in presentation. Its flavour was pleasantly refreshing and fruity topped off with a delicate floral decoration which was so lovely K was reluctant to drink it. Her reluctance quickly waned after the first sip.
It was impressive to see how a 90-year-old institution could add a modern touch to an otherwise historic and iconic establishment and what better way to celebrate its 90th anniversary than to introduce a new cocktail menu.
Exciting concoctions such as banana-saffron wine and pineapple mead sounded enticing and if I were to return on another occasion, I would venture to try it.
Quaglino’s really does seem as if it is fit for royalty, with a magical spiral staircase descending to live music – and it is – over the years, The Queen, Prince Phillip and Hollywood’s elite have frequented the Mayfair venue.
We only sampled the bar snacks, but the truffle and parmesan fries were divine and the pulled lamb shoulder sliders with aubergine were delightful, as the lamb achieved that rare level of tenderness so often sought after yet so seldom achieved.
The prices of the cocktails are incredibly reasonable given the quality of ingredients and the calibre of the venue – not dissimilar to other London cocktail bars in this sense.
Quaglino’s has the style, elegance, and liveliness of an Italian establishment situated in one of the most historic iconic areas of London: a true recipe for success.
Quaglino’s Bar, 16 Bury Street, London, SW1Y 6AJ, England.
Te; +44 (0)20 7930 6767
Quaglino’s is about an 8-minute walk from Green Park Underground station or a short 5-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus Underground station, tucked away down quiet Bury Street. The bar is open Monday to Thursday from 12:00 noon to 1:00am; Friday to Saturday from 12 noon to 3:00am and Sunday from 11:30am to 5:00pm.
Type of Bar: Cocktail Bar in brasserie restaurant
Price Band: Medium/High
Insider Tip: Do take the waiters cocktail recommendations.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Maighna Nanu is a London based freelance journalist.
Photographs courtesy of Quaglino’s