The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly
Piccadilly, London
Tel: 020 7499 6996 Green Park 0.1 miles

All day restaurant in the style of the grand cafés of Paris and Vienna. Impressive surroundings, simple but excellent dishes and great cakes to eat in or take away. Hard to book but easy to pop in for a breakfast or a snack at off-peak times.

Mon-Fri: 7am-12am
Sat: 9am-12am
Sun: 9am-11pm

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Jan Moir's review of The Wolseley (The Telegraph)
Giles Coren's review of The Wolseley (The Times)
Jay Rayner's review of the Wolseley (The Observer)
Matthew Fort's review of The Wolseley (The Guardian)
AA Gill's review of The Wolseley (Sunday Times)

Afternoon Tea

David Collins

The Wolseley reviews

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Having been recommended to eat at The Wolseley and enjoy the experience, what a let-down! Service was appalling, food was second-rate in taste and presentation as well as being overpriced, yet you are still required to pay service charge. Not my kind of experience.

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 by edhill1953, 19 Dec 2011
Totally agree with David Pye. We were a family of 6 adults celebrating my 65th birthday lunch last Sunday. The food was very good but very overpriced; the service was woeful - particularly the wine service. We had to ask twice for more wine and, as the sommelier removed the bottle each time, without attending properly to our guests, my husband had to ask for a cooler within reach so he could look after it! (The same applied to the jug of water.) In retrospect, we should have stuck with what we KNOW to be good, such as the Bingham in Richmond, or Drakes in Ripley - both infinitely better in every way, and no more expensive...

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 by Felicity Gabriel, 25 Oct 2011
Amazed by some of the bad reviews here. I go regularly for breakfast with my partner for a special start to a day in town. We have always found the food to be exceptional, and the service excellent, friendly and unsnobby (if such a word exists!). Would and do recommend it to anyone who appreciates good food in glorious surroundings.

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 by jobowest, 07 Oct 2011
Good food but very, VERY poor service! How disappointing for such an institution. There are much nicer/more stylish places in London.

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 by london1979, 17 Sep 2011
This is the first time that I have ever felt strongly enough to write a review, but here goes...

I was in a party of two mature couples from Bath having a four day break in London. The highlight (even ahead of the show) was going to be dinner at The Wolseley on the Saturday night. In fact, though it hurts me to say it, it turned out to be the biggest and most expensive disappointment any of us has had for a very long time.

It still concerns me greatly, some four days on, as to what level of dining they are trying to achieve here. Having looked at the website write-up with the menu (which I have to say I struggled to find something a little bit special), we felt at those prices we were going to be in for a real treat. Not so, I'm sorry to say.

Having dressed smart-casual, with jackets for the evening, we arrived by taxi. After the doorman just managed to raise a smile and open the door, we were greeted - no, wrong word, met - by a very austere gentleman and a very friendly lady at the desk. At this time we noticed that the dress code appeared to be shorts, tee shirts and back packs. Yes, yes I know, dress codes have changed these days but we weren't walking into MacDonald's!!

After a drink at the bar we were shown to our table and our waiter introduced himself - very nice but no different to the service you would expect at any reasonable restaurant... we didn't even get the napkin across the lap treatment! Not wishing to harp on about this aspect of The Wolseley, the service continued to be just OK with the waiters dressed in black doing what any ordinary waiting staff are required to do.

We chose our wine and were then told what dishes were not available on the menu. After selecting our mains we were advised as to what side dishes may be required (note: these do not appear on the web menu and can put you back a further £4+ per dish).

For starters, my mife chose escargots, two of us had duck livers and the other had rather tough king prawns. Apart from the tough prawns, none of these dishes were anything different than what we had experienced in other restaurants.

Maybe the mains would be that something special we had been anticipating... Oh dear. My wife had the confit of duck (which she is still convinced was deep-fried), two of us had wiener holstein (very greasy), and the other had a £30 chunk of fillet steak and fries. The 'sides' appeared to be straight from pan to dish to table with absolutely no appeal.

So far not one plate of food had appeared appetising. Maybe the chef doesn't do fine dining or even close to it, but we certainly were expecting it.

But wait... desserts always come out looking nice, don't they?
Guess what, no chance! I ordered cheesecake, having been told by the waiter that it was "real baked cheesecake" (hmmm, not sure about that). But that is exactly what I got - a piece of cheesecake, not even a dusting of icing sugar or coulis on the plate. A cheeseboard was also ordered, but the other two had decided not to waste any more money by this time.

Summarising, I am sorry to say that in our opinion from that visit, The Wolseley is OVERRATED and DEFINITELY OVERPRICED. We have all eaten in expensive restaurants and have, in most cases, come out satisfied. But not so this time.

Useful review? 1
 by David Pye, 07 Jul 2010
VERY, VERY POOR. The sauce on the duck livers (which was used for other dishes) was far too salty (way too reduced), the salad was 'cooked' after being left in dressing too long, the mayonnaise was partly congealed, and the ‘chef’ overuses lemon to keep food looking bright and fresh. Is the chef a heavy smoker? Or does he/she not taste the food? And why is there no quality control in place? Please just avoid!

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 by john78, 01 Jun 2010
Great buzz on a Friday evening, but then the restaurant was full. Very disappointed with the food, which I rated as below average for such an establishment. The steak tartare was very bland and lacking in seasoning, served with two bits of dry toast. Melba toast would have been more inviting. Duck confit was very salty, with maybe too much seasoning on the skin. Will not be going back.

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 by farmer, 22 Mar 2010
Wasn't sure what to expect reading the reviews, but suffice to say all the positive comments applied to our visit for afternoon tea. A wonderful welcome preceded a convivial time - "Hello, Tom Stoppard" - reflecting the warm friendly atmosphere and glamorous surroundings. Our waiter was beautifully attentive and the other staff efficient and helpful. Oh, the tea was scrumptious! See you again soon Wolseley.

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 by gillesp, 05 Feb 2010
We visited The Wolseley as part of our golden wedding celebrations in November 2009. The staff were welcoming, friendly, attentive, unobtrusive and efficient. The food was excellent and the atmosphere throughout the restaurant was convivial and cosmopolitan. The staff were aware of the occasion and and made the evening special, including free champagne and several gifts. Our visit was a great pleasure and I'm sure we shall return on many more occasions.

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 by Geofffirth, 27 Nov 2009
Very busy, but were offered a table without prior booking after a 20 minute wait in the bar. Excellent service, very professional staff. Enjoyed the experience.

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 by roseannahenning, 05 Oct 2009
I have been here twice before, and last night I went for dinner. The decor is beautiful, the staff are friendly and attentive, and the food is always of a good standard. But the best thing about this place is its atmosphere - it is always buzzing. I was surprised to read of people who had problems with the service here.

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 by sonalieh, 14 Aug 2009
I eat here a lot, and it's pretty hard to beat. It just does everything really well and with consistency. The food is accurately cooked and always good. This place does not have off days. It is suprisingly inexpensive and great value for money (except breakfast, which I think is on the pricey side). Service is always spot on. The room looks great and the atmosphere is buzzy. Just a classy place.

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 by StuH (39 reviews), 07 Mar 2009
I really cannot think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning than catching up with a friend over breakfast – a lazy start to my weekend. If you happen to have said breakfast at The Wolseley, all the better. We started with individual pots of jasmine and mint tea followed by omelettes with gruyere, toasted brioche and juice.

The food was fresh and well prepared, the staff super friendly and the atmosphere comfortable. It’s also a good place to stop off for some soup/a quick bite if you want quality without excessive prices. The only fault was that my carrot and ginger juice wasn’t freshly made - it was nice but had obviously been prepared earlier that morning and refrigerated. A minor detail but I noticed...

Useful review? 2
 by Milla (46 reviews), 27 Jan 2009
I was there too, in Nov 2008, and I am glad I was because the staff majorly surprised me from the outset with their extremely careful yet ardent attention to fine detail. The decor and fare transported our whole party into raptures which won’t soon evaporate from our collective memory, especially considering that the place is surely firmly enough imprinted on the map of central London. As such, it is a wonderful location - the best there is on offer, presumably, at the moment.

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 by rhett2, 18 Jan 2009
Fran, I had a similar experience with an arrogant member of staff. That was just while booking on the phone. I shall not even bother going there.

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 by felix flanken, 23 Oct 2008
Went for Saturday afternoon tea. I am obviously alone in my desire to enjoy the afternoon tea experience, as the others all had lunch and one didn't eat at all (save the diet for another day darling!). The food was excellent, the service was rubbish. My food arrived as everyone else was finishing theirs. Lots of men in suits standing around doing nothing, avoiding eye contact. Be aware also that the acoustics in this old room make it very noisy.

Anyway, a friend has the mobile number for one of the maître d's here so that she can always get a table when they are full for pedestrians. On her last jaunt, she was followed out onto the street by the maître d', who asked if everything had been OK and then proffered his hand for a tip. All she had was a £50 note, so she felt obliged to give it to him! Tut tut. Not only would I not tip for this restuarant - it ain't that special - it is NEVER for women to tip maitre d's and his behaviour was extremely crass.

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 by Queenie (2 reviews), 20 Oct 2008
Went with high expectations for a special birthday celebration with 4 friends. First visit. Service was terrible. Attitude was arrogant and food distinctly mediocre. Can't understand what the fuss is about - the place is noisy and resembles a huge school dining room.

Useful review? 1
 by fran1, 16 Jun 2008
I took 5 friends for brunch on my birthday. Some of us ate from the brunch menu while some chose a traditional Sunday lunch. The food was great, service good and the atmosphere was perfectly relaxing for a Sunday get together. I will certainly recommend this place.

Useful review? 1
 by Moo Moo (23 reviews), 10 May 2008
If you don't mind booking in advance for dinner or lunch (as it does get booked up), it is well worth the wait. The service and food are both good. Even Sunday brunch!

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 by Firework (6 reviews), 21 Apr 2008
What is happening at the Wolseley? I go there every couple of months when I am in town, and generally just turn up for afternoon tea or breakfast (even at lunch and dinner I've managed to get in without a booking). However, on my last few visits I've noticed it has lacked polish and a certain attention to detail. Is it because Corbin and King have poached all the best staff for their new restaurant on Regent Street? Are the staff not bothered now they get an automatic 12.5% service charge? Do they even receive the service charge? Who is the manager in charge?...

The food is still reliable, the decor is great, it's still relatively good value, but I really want to LOVE it again.

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 by stewybabe (2 reviews), 18 Mar 2008

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