A clubby, cosseting restaurant in the heart of Soho with a bright and breezy Modern British menu and an unbeatable buzz.
This West End institution has changed hands many times since Pepino Leoni opened it in 1926. It’s now under the care of Sam and Eddie Hart of Barrafina, with Jeremy Lee in charge of the kitchen – an arrangement that deserves to see Quo Vadis up to its centenary. It’s one of those restaurants that keep Soho a special place to dine out; one could imagine being a rare-book dealer or a theatrical agent entertaining an actor, and settle in among the leather banquettes and frosted mirrors for a long luxurious lunch, watching Dean Street life speed by through the stained-glass windows.
As well as appealing menu regulars – smoked haddock fish cakes with aïoli, or crab and mayonnaise, say – there’s a daily changing menu full of simple-sounding dishes that make stars of one or two great ingredients. Vegetables and fish feature profusely, with the likes of a winter salad of bitter leaves, beetroot, boiled egg and parmesan, or a whole grilled mackerel with pickled rhubarb. The theatre menu is good value and, unusually, available all day. The wine list focuses on France, Spain and Italy. Service is professional and slick, although falls short of personable; still, this is a legendarily agreeable spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.