Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Wolseley: The Art of Breakfasting

Mr Random has breakfasting at The Wolseley in Piccadilly down to a fine art.

The staff have his direct line. He skips through the door confidently as he exhibits the mutual love and respect between them. A breakfast without at least three unplanned fortuitous meetings would be unthinkable; The Wolseley is his office and his playground.

I had previously eaten at The Wolseley approximately two and a half times. The half because I had been taken for dinner with a good friend, a vegetarian, who unreasonably banned me from eating fois gras and meat. The other two times had been forgettable, not because The Wolseley had underperformed, but because I had - by suffering from drinks-related ailments.

So when Mr Random, a stalwart of the advertising industry (who coined his own name on account of bumping into me randomly three times), invited me to The Wolseley, I knew this was going to be the real thing; the Pixie to my Katie Waissel, the Coke to my Pepsi.

There are a few things to the art of breakfasting:

Sitting at the right table
"It used to be a car showroom, now it's a people showroom,” my companion says. “You can have that one," he adds mischievously. And indeed it is. We sit in a banquette intimate enough for good conversation, but open to see and be seen. Normally I would object to this sort of behaviour, but his working of the room as streams of people who knew him came to our table, made fascinating viewing.

Wearing statement attire
My companion was encased in top-to-toe purple. A peacock designed to be looked at, with the fabulous addition of striking cufflinks fashioned from Viagra pills. If you’re a girl, Louboutins help.


Ordering unembarrassing food
Think carefully before ordering the fully stuffed bacon roll. This is akin to ordering spaghetti on a first date. Don’t do it. The expectation is that you eat as you talk. Be ready to jump up and greet. To say I have been caught out on occasion is a huge understatement. AA Gill once wrote an ode to porridge for his first review of The Wolseley. Now I know why.

And so to the food.

My companion ordered classic eggs benedict with coffee.


I had scrambled eggs on white toast with slats of bacon.

The scrambled eggs were perfectly set, with that slight creamy wibble (and you know how I like wibble). The bacon had edges of crispness. If I wasn't in a people showroom, I would have shovelled the clouds of scrambled eggs with a rasher in my mouth. But I didn't want to embarrass my companion, so I resisted.


Some English Breakfast tea, fresh orange juice and fruity chat washed the breakfast down - a breakfast elegant but hearty helped by the impeccable service.

I could write a whole other post on the art of conversation, but shall leave that for another time when the artist, Mr Random, next decides to exhibit.

The Wolseley
160 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EB
020 7449 6996

The Wolseley on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

I love the Wolseley... they do a great afternoon tea too... shouldn't be eating Fois Gras anyway, it's foul stuff, dreadful... like eating your granny's liver... not nice... great post though x

Helena Lee said...

Dom, thanks for your comment - made me chuckle into my tea. Yes, after watching Janet Street Porter feeding geese, I've almost kicked the habit, but there's been the odd occasion when I have faltered. x

Salty said...

Great post, very fun and I love The Wolseley (despite it being one of London's most hard to spell restaurants). Agree with Dom re: afternoon tea - a steal (think it's around £16) compared with the £35-£40 a head of most of the Five-star hotels.
K x

Douglas Blyde said...

Supreme attire

Helena Lee said...

Katy and Dom - I must try the afternoon tea there. Great tip.

Douglas - I shall pass on your compliments to Mr Random! I'm sure you'll spot him one day. Hx

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