My grandfather came over to England on a boat, I think. Or maybe that’s the romantic picture I have in my head, of him hunkered down on a chilly vessel, dreaming about what kind of life awaited in London, when he finally made it there. It would have been the early 1950s when he got over from Cyprus to the UK, and I can’t even imagine how different that must have been…but he settled in quickly, worked hard, and got a job at a fancy London bar, Quaglino’s, in Soho.
Imagine my surprise, then, when, last Thursday, my colleague invited me to try out their new QApertivo bar menu, and finally get to visit the place that had been the centre of so many stories from my childhood…how exciting!
So that’s how Clo and I found ourselves wandering down St. James, Piccadilly, just after work last Thursday, making our way through the discreet but stunning entryway of Quaglino’s, and into the gorgeous bar, to try their Q Apertivo menu.
Quaglino’s is set over two floors; the lower is the gorgeous dining room and stage, where a live band can often be found playing, whilst the upper floor houses the beautiful bar that we found ourselves at, which has a live band all of its own (who were fabulous, just FYI).
There were quite a few really delicious drinks on the menu, but unfortunately we only got to try two, as the service was quite slow (Thursday night drinks in Central London – what were we really expecting, eh?), but the quality of both the food and the cocktails more than made up for it! Our first drink of the evening was the ‘Il Pulpo’ – an oregano infused Belvedere with Averna (a citrusy Italian liqueur), homemade orange marmalade, and spiced ginger ale, served with its very own ginger biscuit(!), and it was stunning, both in looks and in taste.
I followed this up with the ‘La Scala’, a Campari, Martini Rubino, Cynar (a bitter Italian liqueur), and Amer Picon (a bitter orange liqueur), which is one of the best drinks I’d had in a while…although Chloe wasn’t much of a fan of the taste, we were both impressed with the presentation. The cocktail was presented a petite bottle, over dry ice, and then poured by our lovely waiter into a glass, at the table. Stunning.
The Bar Food
The food? Well, that was pretty impressive, too…although, I’ll admit that, having gone veggie again, this year (all two months of it), there aren’t tonnes of meat- or fish- free options. There was a stunning tomato arancini (balls made of rice and cheese…fried), though, and the most delicious olive tapenade I’ve ever tasted, with fresh crisp bread to accompany it. Delicious!
Like I say, the service was a little slower than I’m used to, but the waiters were incredible, and very knowledgeable about the items on the menu – despite the fact that it only launched last month! – and the food and drinks were delicious. Cocktails will set you back £12.50 each, if you do decide to visit, which is pretty good for central London, and the food is priced around £8, so it’s a fun and relatively affordable after-work spot if you’ve got a couple of hours and nowhere to be.
It’s a beautiful, friendly bar, with a great vibe, great food, and fabulous drinks. Whilst there are more affordable and faster services in London, it’s the perfect place for a few drinks after work or a catch up with your girl gang.
I adored the decor, the bar staff were lovely, and the drinks (and food!), were wonderful. The service was a little slow, and the drinks were pricey, but all in all? I’d recommend a trip to Quaglino’s bar, and I’d definitely recommend a trip there on a Thursday for the Q Aperitivo menu (which you can get from 5pm-8pm). You can find out more here.
* I attended the event with a colleague who was invited to review the Quaglino’s Q Aperitivo menu. All opinions are my own.
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