QUAGLINO’S – 16 Bury Street, St James’s, London, SW1Y 6AJ


My partner and I had a quick look at the menu and decided to visit this restaurant for nice Saturday night dinner. My partner had visited this restaurant over 2 years ago and had remembered that the food was good, so we did not read any reviews or the menu before we went.

The outside of the restaurant was quite impressive, with 2 big pieces of art work either side of the glass door and a doorman who directed us to the restaurant, which was down a flight of stairs. The decor was modern and stylish, with pink/fuchsia lights. I found this a really nice and interesting touch to have. The restaurant had a very stylish, arty, chic and high-end ambience – with the dress code being smart and dressy.

I really liked the projections of art work (photographs) on the back walls of the restaurant, which I thought gave a unique and interesting feel to the ambience and decor of the restaurant. On each table was a card with information about the artist, their inspiration and the work that had been selected for display. 

The menu because it looked like it had just the correct amount of dishes, sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed when the menu is as thick as book! So I was happy everything was on one page and organised into meat and fish sections. For starters my partner and I decided to share the ‘dressed Cornish crab with toast’. I chose the ‘whole roast plaice with shrimps and capers’ for my main dish, accompanied by a side dish of new potatoes and my partner chose the ‘grilled lobster’ which came with chips and hollandaise sauce.

Before the starter arrived, we were given a complementary basket of sliced brown bread which we were very thankful for because, again we were both starving when we arrived at the restaurant. The starter looked fresh and appetizing, but a little on the small side (which was our initial thought). However the portion was perfect to share because it was quite rich and the complementary bread came in handy as we were able to eat that with the crab. The starter was seasoned well, tasted fresh and healthy and was a good start to the meal…in fact it gave us high hopes for the main dishes we ordered.

Unfortunately our enthusiasm for the food and the place was short-lived as we ended up waiting over 35 minutes for the main dishes to arrive. We were getting very hungry, a bit restless and were contemplating not paying for the service charge due to the wait. However the restaurant manager came over and apologised for the wait and stated that the dishes were being served as he spoke so we should receive them in a couple of minutes. We waited for about 6 mins after that, until our main dishes arrived. The restaurant manager himself served the plates and apologised again, which was nice.

My roast plaice looked appetising and smelt good, however was very bland. The capers and shrimps scattered on top of the fish, disappointingly did not add any extra flavour or saltiness – the lemon slice and new potatoes were the only accompaniment that gave the dish any flavour. (The new potatoes were nicely seasoned with a Cornish herb sauce). My partner however seemed to be digging into the grilled lobster and chips with no complaints (I think this had a lot to do with how hungry we were!). I tried some lobster with the hollandaise sauce and it was nicely seasoned, fresh and tasty but nothing extra ordinary. The chips were also thin, crispy and nicely salted. Unfortunately for my partner, I ate the majority of the chips! (Sorry I forgot to take any pictures of the food because I was so hungry!)

Mistakenly I hoped that the food at this restaurant would match the food I tasted at Paramount (please see the Paramount review) but unfortunately it did not come anywhere near. 

When we asked for the bill, the restaurant manager apologised for the wait again and explained that they had been very busy and sometimes a table can get overlooked, and unfortunately for us, it was our table that night. He however stated that he had removed the service charge, the starter and side dish because of the wait – which we appreciated. He also gave us free passes to a nearby salsa bar, which operates by paid entry. I thought this was really nice, thoughtful and intriguing despite my disappointing meal and I wanted to give the bar a visit.  

Verdict: May go again

Overall I was pretty disappointed with the taste of the food and the wait. However very impressed with the service and maybe (optimistically) I chose the wrong dish?!

  • Food: 5/10 – bland, however good portion size, tasty starter and lobster dish.
  • Ambience: relaxed, lively and stylish atmosphere.
  • Décor: stylish, chic – loved the slide show of photographs, information about the artist and the entrance to the restaurant.
  • Service: very good – attentive and aware
  • Value for money: not very good, a bit on the expensive side for the quality of food.

(Cornish crab, roast plaice, new potatoes, grilled lobster+ chips = £78.47 (including service charge). After removal of service charge, new potatoes and the starter = £52)

Crab starter

View of the restaurant


~ by khannablog on October 14, 2012.

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