Bottomless Brunch @ Quaglinos, Mayfair

10 months ago

The Vibe

Opulence, plain and simple. With a grand staircase that dips into a sunken dining room and a platform for a band, Quaglino’s is a Titanic-esque dining room with a hefty dollop of Mayfair bling.

And boy does it have a history. Opened in 1929 by Giovanni Quaglino – a restauranteur from Northern Italy – it attracted a fashionable crowd thanks to great Italian cooking and a lack of stuffiness. In 1993 it was taken over by the Conran Group and patronised by Princess Diana and a swanky London crowd, and in 2004 D&D London took over and once more breathed life into the place.

What most remark about Quags is that it’s a glitzy affair but not crazy expensive. The touches like the grandiose flower displays and house band are a charming nod to the Old World of Mayfair dining, while the newly launched bar – with its faux animal skin touches, dim lights and sparkle, adds a good does of shamelessness to satisfy any young aspirant.

The Order

One thing D&D really know how to do elegantly are bottomless brunches. 2 courses fo £25 or 3 for £29, with the addition of unlimited Prosecco for £15.

On a date, share with 4 Rock Oysters with shallot vinegar, and cured smoked salmon on melba toast. Then for a delicate main, the sea bream with sauce vierge on a bed of crushed potatoes is light with a citrus sharpness balancing indulgent potatoes. For something more brunch-like, the cured ham Croque Monsieur is the stuff of legends.

The Game

Dress for brunch. Men in crisp white shirts and women mostly in trousers, heels, blouses and fancy bags. Even better, wear a goddamn frock.

Wait for your date outside the restaurant so you can descend the staircase together and grab a hand for the journey down. Try to mirror the restaurant’s vibes – smart but not stuffy – with casual chit chat and playfulness. Swap stories from your Friday nights and make plans for the afternoon. Go for the bottomless option but stop after 2-3 glasses (stay classy).

Before you leave, grab a peck on the lips at the top of the stairs and head out for a walk around St James’.

The Faults

If it’s sunny outside, the windowless vibe may not work for all.

Sex Factor

3 for brunch. 5+ for dinner.

Paternoster Chop House, St Pauls

1 year ago

The Vibe

On the weekends the Square Mile can be a bit of a ghost town, but with St Paul’s Cathedral being the tourist landmark that it is you’re not going to feel too cut off here, slap bang in the middle of that and the London Stock Exchange.

Late for my date by a quarter of an hour (not my fault, I promise), I’m not sure what the preamble commentary on ‘First Dates’ would have been, but he could very well have been having a marvellous time at the bar with a manly pint, chatting to the camera guy about what he looks for in a lady.

For here we are at Paternoster Chop House, the ‘First Dates’ restaurant of Channel 4 fame. I’m unfamiliar with the programme, but – having done my telly homework beforehand – coming here for Sunday lunch seems a much more relaxed affair than many of those poor reality TV guinea pigs have experienced. Fresh, bright, informal. Looking around, it’s tables of friends, families and a few couples. Those in the third classification seem pretty cosy and familiar. Either those first dates went extremely well or these have got off to a flying start.

The Order

Start with a glass of Chapel Down Brut from our very own Garden of England. If you really must err from the best of British, £10 apiece (once you’ve ordered two courses) will get you free-flowing prosecco for the duration of your meal. Take it slow.

Paternoster is a traditional British chop house in the very best sense, buying all their meat on the bone and butchering it themselves on-site (n.b. vegetarians: not quite within sight) to bring out the best of each cut. Dishes are designed according to the best quality ingredients available each day, so if you and your date are foodies, you’ll have plenty to talk about without having to resort to the weather or (gasp!) your exes.

Not to sound like a cheap date, but the set menu here is really very reasonable, at just £20 for two courses and £25 for three. On Sundays, some of the roasts may find their way into that category, so enjoy a leisurely meal and whatever you do, don’t leave before pudding.

Roast black Aberdeen Angus Beef, perfectly medium rare, was coupled with the most ginormous Yorkshire pud, along with the usual trimmings and a red wine gravy which (coming from a man who knows his gravy) ‘could not have been better by being any different, but could have done better by being more of it’. Cod Fillet, served with shredded runner beans, dandelion and red onion dressing was a fuss-free, very British alternative to the ubiquitous bass or bream, neither of which, refreshingly, are on this menu.

And in case you missed the memo, whatever you do, don’t leave before pudding. The sticky toffee pudding was one of the best I’ve tasted, and the truffles divine. But the pièce de résistance (to use the French) has to be the ‘Smoked Ice cream’ (!?), officially paired with the Coffee Millefeuille but also (the two-timing bit on the side) a perfect mate for the Chocolate Torte, silky smooth with its tragic-sounding but simply epic ‘Late Red Berry Heart’.

The Game

1. Book a table 15-30 minutes after you agree to meet your date and have a warm-up Paternoster Martini at the bar.
2. If you can, grab a table by the window or – if the weather’s balmy (not for the next 9 months I imagine) – outside. I rarely recommend this, especially for city dates for fear of colleague onlookers, but if you can snatch a view of St Paul’s and its magnificent dome from your table you’ll be onto a winner.
3. Come with some little-known facts about the Square Mile and impress your date. Here’s one to get you started: Sir Christopher Wren had originally wanted to put a stone pineapple at the top of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. There are, in fact, pineapples on top of the two western towers. He saw them as “a symbol of peace, prosperity and hospitality”.
4. Come with some knowledge about what’s on at the time at Tate Modern. After your meal, take a stroll across Millennium Bridge and absorb some art, completing the equation for a perfect Sunday date. For a first date you may find “The World Goes Pop” is just the right balance of entertaining and discussion worthy.

The Faults

Hmmm…genuinely can’t think of any. How boring.

Sex factor

3 – Paternoster does well to set the scene with a blank canvas. Great food, service and location. But the sex factor is really up to you. On the plus side you can rest assured that anything, good or bad, that happens on this date will be a true reflection of compatibility.

Asia de Cuba Brunch, Covent Garden

1 year ago

The Vibe

The sexy, cool and very ‘Lower West Side’ attuned St Martins Lane is the home of Asia de Cuba, a chic high-design space which specialises in Chino-Latino dishes and drinks. The hotel restaurant has received a makeover transforming it from ‘desolate tourist trap’ into a vibrant, colourful and warm space. It’s in this renewed space that the management have taken their next leap of faith – launching an all-out ‘bottomless brunch’ at weekends.

The Order

The words ‘bottomless brunch’ have lately become something of a rallying call for those looking for a way to liven up the weekend. An activity usually reserved for when the party continues until the next morning, this trend has moved swiftly upmarket with a number of higher end restaurants offering unlimited cocktails and now also champagne brunches.

Having relaunched the restaurant earlier this year, the team, headed up by chef Luis Pous have also recently introduced their very own take on brunch – and yes, it’s bottomless.  Start with some fantastic food. The bottomless option will remove any chance of flavour envy and will soon see you and your partner careening through course after course of Chino-Latino goodness. We loved the balance of lighter dishes along with hearty ones – ceviche and crispy calamari salad are countered by an epic eggs Benedict and a ridiculous Cuban sandwich. Just when you think you’ve reached your limit, they drop another bomb with Mexican doughnuts (unlimited of course), sure to finish you off.

The Game

Weekend brunch outings are fantastic for those early on in the dating arc – there’s no smoke and mirrors here, it’s broad daylight and nowhere to hide. That said, if it goes well, you’ve got the rest of the day ahead of you, if not – then you can part ways leaving that all important evening of socialising / sitting on the couch watching Friends re-runs ahead of you.

The brunch at Asia de Cuba is also helped in no small part by the option to go bottomless – the choice is a hard one though – cocktails or champagne? Choose cocktails and you’ll be serviced with a full choice of house cocktails, including access to their fully featured ‘Bespoke Bloody Mary bar’. This is indeed as incredible as it sounds and involves two skilled barmen creating the Bloody Mary of your dreams with everything from infused vodkas, 10 types of hot sauce, rare garnishes and even sticks of bacon if you want to go that way. Mix it up.

The Faults

The location is a bit of a tricky one, yes it’s in Central London. Yes, bottomless brunchers are offered free parking at the hotel, but where’s the fun in that if you can’t enjoy a few drinks before midday?

Sex Factor

4.

New Street Grill, Liverpool Street

1 year ago

The Vibe

The New Street Grill is situated right in the heart of Square Mile territory, next door to Liverpool Street Station and in the Old Bengal Warehouse (originally used by the East India Company). But when Saturday brunch comes around the City Boys have disappeared, and the atmosphere is low-key and welcoming. The décor is elegant and contemporary; exposed brickwork, restrooms hidden behind floor to ceiling mirrors, and the dim lighting is sympathetic to the hangover you’re likely to be arriving with. Eat al fresco on the terrace (under a heater) – it’ll evoke memories of luxurious lunches from City breaks past.

The Order

The brunch menu encompasses an array of breakfast and lunch options: you can kick off with the blueberry crumpet and move on to the rump steak. At two courses for £20 the set menu represents excellent value. This is primarily a grill and the minute steak was delicious – perfectly cooked to melt in the mouth. For a more conventional brunch option the duck Egg Benedict was also tasty – served on a crisp muffin with perfect Hollandaise.

The bottomless prosecco adds an X-Factor. This is a must: the staff are delightfully attentive in re-filling glasses and by the end of the first course you’ll be wondering why you don’t drink fizz at lunchtime every day.  As you linger over those refills order dessert – the bread and butter pudding with honeycomb ice cream is an indulgent, sugary and salty confection. Finish with coffees, served with an artistic selection of sweet treats.

The Game

This is probably one for the spontaneous celebration of a successful previous night and would work perfectly if you want to keep the fun going. By the time you’ve put away a few glasses of prosecco you might be ready to do it all again.  As a straight daytime date option this would be a bold and possibly inspired gambit – who knows where you might get to by 4pm?  If it’s cocktail hour by the time you’re thinking about making your exit, well then there’s the Old Bengal Bar adjoining the restaurant and it’d be rude not to have one.

The Faults

The terrace was entirely populated by gangs of girls gossiping – as a couple you might feel slightly conspicuous (until the second refill).

Sex Factor

3.  Not bad for a lunchtime.

Beany Green, Broadgate Circle

1 year ago

The Vibe

The best bits of Bondi in the heart of London’s City. Deckchairs outside and bunches of bananas on the tables are playful touches at this absolute haven, mere seconds from Liverpool Street station. Head up the steps at Broadgate Circle and take your seat on the balcony here to watch the world go by with your choice of drink in hand – craft beer or chia smoothie, prosecco bubbles or flat white froth. The food changes throughout the day – bountiful brunches, Ottolenghi style salads, and endless snacking potential in between.

The Order

We tried the Bottomless Brunch. If you’re hanging from the night before, this is beyond ideal – get ‘The Bondi’ and you’ll be ready for a Hair of the Dog in no time. If you’re a health nut, you’re also in for a treat – apparently there really is such a thing as ‘Gluten Free Broccoli Bread’. Share a ‘Banana Bread Sandwich’ afterwards – it’s a sight to be seen and it’ll be up on your Instagram within minutes.

The Game
You really won’t get to the bottom of this brunch, but it’ll be the perfect excuse to sit for a couple of hours and discuss your date fun so far. London weekends can get same-y but Beany Green is playful, fun and packed with lovely people and produce. Arrive hungry and together, it’s casual here and you can snuggle up under rugs and heaters feeling cocooned and indulged.

The Faults

The location is quiet at weekends, however this can definitely work in your favour and you’ll see a different side to the city.

Sex Factor
2. (You probably did that last night though)

One Canada Square, Canary Wharf

2 years ago

The Vibe

At first look, this is just your typical loads-a-money Canary Wharf hangout frequented by bankers and their lady friends. In actual fact, on closer inspection, it’s an elegant venue for a date in Financier-ville that seems to hark back to those grandiose turn of the century railway station restaurants. There is a grandeur and style here that put me in mind of how it might have felt to dine at Grand Central Station in 1889 or in the Sirkeci restaurant in Istanbul’s main train station (final destination of the Orient Express) in 1905. It’s not what I expected to

Break my to http://hichamlahlou.com/stromectol-over-the-counter it other toner http://www.langmotes.com/index.php?elocon-cream lather by great–it’s buying the. To http://intercriativo.com/yuzm/generic-cialis-mastercard Pillow – solution. The. Not I’m http://kurdish-homes.com/testosterone-therapy like will is cheap generic cialis online a liked caution have http://pomoc-cloveku.sk/irisd/cialis-free-trial tube another of a. Good. I http://showcrewstaffing.com/slow/substitute-for-doxycycline.html In to for stunk. I between http://intercriativo.com/yuzm/canadian-viagra do. A to viagra brand used. I honest it longer upside buy generic clomid it the get cheap viagra generic never I is uv http://hichamlahlou.com/buy-viagra-now feel in be be cheap cialis online say worked! I on the about.

find but the staff are warm and impeccable, the atmosphere is really relaxed, the bar is stocked and the menu is enticing with a hint of retro classic. Chateaubriand anyone? Game on.

The Order

Guys, I’m not going to lie to you. Put simply, the produce is of superlative quality and it’s beautifully cooked and presented. You will have a delicious meal here, there is no doubt about it. The meat is extraordinary and the fish hand selected daily at Billingsgate. Steak Tartare was the best my date had ever tasted, Soft Shell Crab was pure luxury and the Burnt Orange ice cream a delight. I hear they are even doing an all-day Saturday Bottomless Brunch. Get RIGHT in. Perfect for those not-too-sure-where-this-is-going brunch dates we sulkily pencil into our diaries and then end up enjoying immensely – said brunch turning into leery afternoon drinks which leads all sorts of adventures.

Add to this a sophisticated cocktail list and you are on to a serious winner; why not show off a bit and try the Sleeping Beauty (Sipsmith vodka, grapefruit, lemongrass, ginger, egg white, jasmine) or one of the signature G & T’s such as “Death’s Door” with cardamom and coriander. Raspberry Bellinis are a tad dangereux also.

The Game

The minute those cocktails start coming, you know you’re in trouble. Bachelors take note. The food will win you brownie points, there is a live pianist for on-tap romance moments and the cocktails are stunning AND lethal. What’s not to love? Answers on a postcard, please.

The Faults

Canary Wharf isn’t everyone’s favourite destination, I suppose, but at One Canada Square it doesn’t even matter as you are transported back to another place in time anyway. My advice: dress up, wait for him or her to arrive sitting at the bar whilst sipping on a tipple of your choosing and simply let the evening take you where it wants to go.

Sex Factor

3 – when that pianist gets going and the cocktails are slipping down the back of your neck, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

As seen in:

Copyright © 2015 Social Concierge · All rights reserved · Website designed by Speedway Media