Quo Vadis, Soho
There are few places in London that I like to go back to time and again. Few restaurants and bars actually stand up to the test of time, for lots of different reasons. Quo Vadis, captained by Sam and Eddie Hart (of Fino and Barrafina) and head chef Jeremy Lee, is like a fine wine and simply gets better with age. Quality is steadfast and never compromised for fashion, luxury is second nature despite never being ostentatious and it’s just a great place to have to a grand old time no matter what time of the day or year you visit. Think laid back luxe, there’s something distinctly English via the Deep South about this place; dress smartly or you’ll feel scruffy. Expensive bubbles are always the correct answer here so exercise caution if operating on a budget. An institution in London and for very good reason. Perfect for a breakfast date; sublime menu and plenty of fresh baked goods. Take that gourmand(e) you’ve been courting for some time and maybe hang around until lunch, just because.
They keep the drinks classic, and so should you. Don’t go too far off course from the excellent Cosmopolitan or Espresso Martini from the bar. The Whiskey cocktails are damn fine. Bar snacks are tempting and moreish; dig in, life isn’t going to live itself. Try the ‘kickshaw’ (I’m not going to spoil it for you – you’ll have to find out for yourselves) or the smoked eel sandwich for nibbles, if not sticking around. If you’ve bagged a table in the restaurant, go for your lives. Choose from imaginative British dishes such as warm salad of longhorn, pickled walnut and horseradish or mutton shoulder, broad beans and wild garlic. If you opt for the pre-theatre menu, as some of you culture vultures just might, don’t leave without two-spooning the almond, blueberry and lemon mess. In other news, the sticky toffee pudding is delightful.
Getting a table here can be tricky. Plan this one in a little in advance. It’s a lovely spot for a drink (the inner bar has a cute corner banquette with strong canoodle-inducing powers, there are a handful of canopied tables outside perfect for summer boozing and people watching a deux) but it’s also a sure thing for dinner. You can do this one of two ways; either book a table in the bar for classic pre-dinner drinks in a quirky, British nay post-colonial setting and head on to the latest restaurant opening in Soho for dinner OR try somewhere equally eccentric like The French House very close by for an aperitif and book in at QV for a slap up dinner. In the latter scenario, you can still make use of the bar later on if you find you’re having one of those Woody Allen-esque witty dialogue marathons, even if it ends up being just with yourself.
Are you kidding me? Another Brandy Alexander please, bar tender.
4. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.