The Bottom Line
The Wolseley is a cafe-restaurant on London's Piccadilly worth visiting for its grand interior as well as its Eggs Benedict.
- Wonderful interior
- Location – next to The Ritz
- Families with young children welcome
- Courteous service
- Fine to dine alone – actually quite popular for Breakfast
- Not rushed – stayed for 1.5 hours for Breakfast
- Free postcards - postage paid!
- Not cheap
- Must book in advance
The Wolseley Introduction
160 Piccadilly was built in 1921 as a car showroom for Wolseley Motors but the cars didn't sell well and the company went bankrupt. It was then a bank for many years and the smaller dining room at the front of the restaurant was the Bank Manager’s Office, but when the bank needed to upgrade they were unable to make changes to the building as it is ‘listed’ (must be preserved) so they sold it on and it became a Chinese restaurant in 1999. In 2003 the building was sold again and restoration work undertaken to preserve the marble floors and black Japanese lacquer. The Wolseley restaurant opened in November 2003.
Tel: 020 7499 6996
Fax: 020 7499 6888
You are not permitted to take photos inside The Wolseley which is a good thing as you must then enjoy the moment and rely on your eyes to capture the splendor of the interior.
The high ceiling is stunning and the décor is striking, but not stark, with black lacquered wood and natural marble. The chandeliers are huge but in a simple design and not ‘sparkly’.
A relaxed smart-casual dress code applies for most sittings, although you may like to dress up for dinner to compliment the opulent surroundings.
Free Postage Paid Postcards
Downstairs, outside the restrooms, you can pick up postcards of the interior of The Wolseley. Write them out at your table then hand them in at the reception and they pay the postage!
The Wolseley is a great place for a relaxed weekend breakfast. (On weekdays it is popular for business meetings.) I had to reserve a table but was able to book just a few days before and was informed on the phone we could have the table for 1.5 hours which is more than enough time for breakfast.
The Breakfast Menu has lots of pastries, and plenty of English options including a bacon & fried egg roll, kippers (fish), and the traditional full English fried breakfast. Eggs Benedict is one of their signature dishes and I must say it was very tasty.
The All Day Menu is served from 11.30am to midnight but doesn't have much for a vegetarian which is why I went for breakfast. It does have oysters, shellfish and cavier which prove to be popular, as are the Plats du Jour such as Coq au Vin and Rabbit Casserole.
I think this would be a fun place to go for an afternoon treat as their Dessert and Cake Menus look scrummy. They also have a set Cream Tea or Afternoon Tea, but you definitely need to book then. If you would like to just pop in for coffee I was advised you can often get a table in the late afternoon without booking.
There is a good coffee selection but when in England do try our traditional teas. I liked the silver teapot, milk jug and tea strainer and can understand why they now sell copies of their silverware. Loose leaf tea needs a tea strainer so make sure you use it – it looks confusing but it tilts.