Dinner at The Wolseley can be mediocre and lunches are a bit stiff and as yet I have not yet had breakfast there (which is what The Wolseley is famous for) On this occasion, it is afternoon tea with three of my girlfriends that brings me here. Annoyingly it is absolutely packed and the accoustics aren't great as every laugh, shriek or bellow from fellow diners just bounces off the ceiling and dives straight into ones ear. My intolerance of noise, I admit, is simply another sign that I am getting old.
I despise the fact that AA Gill had to go and write a book about how damn fabulous The Wolseley is, which has now sent it rocketing into the orbits of super stardom, but I think afternoon tea should be a down-to-earth affair and priced very reasonably at £19.50, which technically still isnt cheap for a few finger sarnies and a couple of scones – but a damn sight better value than the ludicrous prices of over-hyped afternoon tea at hotels such as The Ritz and Claridges these days.
This particular afternoon on a sunny Sunday seems to have attracted an eclectic mix of patrons from all walks of life… Tourist, chavs and Londoners alike. Luckily, the nauseatingly gobby table of shrill lady-chavs next to us seem to be paying their bill and hopefully will be leaving shortly… and in good time too, as one of my guests is just 4 years old and is better off without the ‘colourful’ language of the soon-to-be-departed neighbouring table.
The tea itself is pretty simple and this is where the price point shows… 2 fat scones, nice and warm and I cannot tell you how fluffy and light they are, really quite remarkable, considering they held their shape so well. The finger sandwiches are classic cucumber, chicken and tarragon, egg mayonnaise and cream cheese and celery with the crusts cut off, of course! A mini coffee eclair, raspberry tartlette and bright yellow macaroon enrobed in dark chocolate finish off the 3-tiered serving platter. My choice of Darjeeling makes the perfect accompaniment to my cakes and sandwiches and I must say, I am quite impressed at the value of the meal and think it offers great value at £19.50. It's not a flashy or elaborate afternoon tea, but for a group of ladies wanting somewhere nice to meet, it does the trick and is great quality at an elegant venue in the centre of town.
I shall definitely go back for Afternoon Tea again… But I feel I need to go for a nice long breakfast first and really experience the infamous Vienoisserie that this now cult-like famous restaurant is renowned for.
The Wolseley - 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
Tel: 020 7499 6996