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A la Colthard/English’s and the Wolseley

Most restaurant critics review new restaurants but most diners stick to their favourites.

I’m in the “most diners “ group and am quite happy to do my job by revisiting old favourites to check they are still up to par.  They are.

English’s ticks all the boxes: warm greeting, sensible prices, well-cooked food with a wide menu and a reasonable set lunch, lovely ambience in the open air courtyard near the Lanes.

I went there last weekend with a visiting family of four, the father knows his wine and restaurants and they all loved it.

What’s not to like.

I had 6 Orford oysters and their magnificent fish and chips – trencherperson portion.

The Wolseley is a different kettle of fish.

Again the service is excellent.

It’s very much a central London restaurant for heavy hitters. Again a varied menu.

I was struck by so many New York deli dishes on the menu.

I always like chicken soup and this was served with half a salt beef sandwich.

The soup was a rich broth with dumplings and the only problem was I was rather full before my liver and bacon main arrived.

The social distancing was more apparent than English’s but if there is a fault at the Wosleley the noise levels are too high and this time with more separate tables my host and I could hear each other.

Fidelity is not exactly my middle name ( !!!) but these two restaurants will survive the crisis in their sector as they understand client loyalty.  At English’s I am  served a complimentary glass of Prosecco on arrival and at the Wolseley my host had purchased vouchers at the height of the lockdown to assist their cash flow.   Conversely I am not that interested in receiving regular emails from the Icebergs in Bondi Beach, Sydney having only visited it once and unsure when I will – if ever-  return there.

the other feature of both restaurants is the presence of the owner / senior person.  At the Wolseley Jeremy King  , the co-owner does the rounds , and at English’s the senior oysterman Jonathan is always there.  It reminds me of Claude Terrail   the legendary owner of the Tour d’Argnet in Paris. He was always standing right inthe centre of the  restaurant eyes everywhere and his diligence and presence were  the reasons for its continuing success.

About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts