Breakfast at The Wolseley was an 18th birthday treat. I felt fancy, sitting in the plush room (a converted car showroom), all gilt, marble and silver tableware. Eight years later (living in the city for nearly five), I’m less easily impressed. Yet it’s still one of my favourite places to return to, for morning scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, or tea/cake in the afternoon. Chris Corbin and Jeremy King were onto a good thing with The Wolseley. It became a place to be seen (or for great people watching). They followed with The Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel and Colbert, all with their own menus, but most with the grand European café feel. They might not always have completely flawless plates, the food mostly dependable favourites, but always a polished yet kind of comforting time.
I was thinking about this when visited the last two of their openings in 24 hours a few weeks ago. Just by chance, a work lunch at The Colony on the Wednesday (in their first hotel, The Beaumont), and a late breakfast at Marylebone High Street’s Fischer’s the next day, the start of a long weekend off.
The first has been open a month or so, discreetly tucked in Mayfair’s Brown Hart Gardens. The Colony restaurant is past the glossy American bar (all dark leather, for strong drinks and snacks including), penned as a traditional grill room. There are grilled meats, eggs different ways, American sandwiches, salads, pastas and Les Plats du Jour (including meatloaf, brisket and shepherd pie). High-end comfort food with some New York gloss.
We started with oysters (from £12.75 for a half dozen) and the New York shrimp cocktail (£16)– not the prawn cocktail kind, but lighter with the beautifully sweet shellfish perched on a silver iced dish, complete with little pot of a tomato relish. Steak tartare (£21.50 for the large) was tender, finely chopped (depending on how chunky you like it), silky with egg yolk and alongside skinny fries. There’s a playful pudding for after, with a little sundae tick-box list, to choose ice-creams/toppings/sauces. Definitely start with The Beaumont cocktail (gin, dry sherry, elderflower, pineapple, lemon, champagne), ours drank while trying to peer at what Tom Ford was having for lunch on the booth behind our table.
The morning after, a Viennese breakfast at Fischer’s, the Austrian one of the family. A plate of smoked meats and sausage, boiled egg, tomato, gouda and soft pretzel roll (£10.50), lovely with their fresh cherry juice and tea. The teeny Viennoiserie were excellent too (and sweetly a birthday freebie), especially the little flaky croissant (plain and almond) and pain au chocolat. The Austrian Gröstl also sounded very good, a mixture of paprika-fried potatoes and onions, with bacon and an egg. It’s a cosy room, perfect for a wintry long brunch, with just the gleaming clock hanging down to keep an eye of the time.