New York has Balthazar, Paris has Brasserie Lipp, London has the Wolseley. Centrally located on Piccadilly, the Wolseley is a modern all-day cafe-brasserie in the European tradition, where grandees and grungers alike feel welcome.
The building dates from 1921, when the Wolseley Car Company (which began life as the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company) hired architect William Curtis Green to design a luxurious car showroom. No architectural mark of opulence was omitted: high arches, sweeping stairways, marble floors—it all adds up to a munificent temple for the mechanical wonder of the age. The cafe's interiors, orchestrated by David Collins Studio, are almost a decade old but continue to exude an Art Deco glamor. As longtime devotees of The Wolseley, we concocted an all-day dining experience (breakfast, tea, dinner) in their Private Dining Room.
Photography by Simon Bevan and floral design by Michelle McKenna.
Above: The early morning light streams in from Piccadilly Circus.
Above: Breakfast at the Wolseley, by A. A. Gill, with photographs by David Loftus, offers a glimpse into the world of the Wolseley and includes recipes and reminiscences; £12.99. Canisters of the Wolseley's English Breakfast Tea; £8.99, and Cafetiere and Filter Blend Coffee; £9.49.
Above: Afternoon tea goes in hand with the soft fading light.
Above: The Wolseley offers a Champagne Afternoon Tea.
Above: In the evening, half height black curtains offer privacy from the dining room below.
Above: The table setting exudes Old World glamor.
Above: The layers of vaulted arches in the main restaurant are visible through the Art Deco arches.
N.B.: This post is an update of a post which originally posted on September 29, 2011.
Planning a trip to London this summer? See some of our other favorite London Restaurants listed in our City Guides.