The Wolseley, Mayfair
by Saul T. Rasher
There may be other places more romantic, there may be superior venues for calming a crapular corpus, and others lighter on the pocket-book. But for a breakfast to ease the soul and engender sentiments of gentility and a deep sense of Englishness, no venue trumps The Wolseley.
The mise en scene is – if one may associate such sentiments with mornings – seductive. Stout masculine marble is softened by feminine Art Deco arabesques on the stairways and bannisters, so that diners are eased into an elegant cast of mind. The room tinkles as much with genteel Mayfair tittering as silver-on-china.
What of the victuals? Imperial teas include a pungent gunpowdery Lapsong. Coffee comes in smooth-plunging cafetieres or thimbles of espresso with a perfect cap of crema. Mint tea is made with mint, orange juice with oranges. All in all, all is as it ought to be.
As for food, croissants, crumpets, black puddings, omelettes and - O, horror! - waffles jostle for attention. Superlative porridge is served correctly in a wide, cooling bowl with sugar, brown as it ought to be (the unrefined version being so much more refined).
Best are the eggs: they have a way with ova here. Scrambled, they are angelic in lightness, with an egginess indubitably organic. The ne plus ultra, though, is the eggs benedict. Never, surely, have yolks oozed so pleasingly, the goo spreading like sunshine over the ham and soft bread. Rarely has the buttery tang of hollandaise so tingled the tongue. Your scribe recommends two eggs – with this dish, an oeuf is never enough.
In the wrong hands breakfast can be – as you will have doubtless learned - a flippant affair, the day’s amuse bouche. Not here. Here they know that breakfast is the most important repast, not just nutritionally, but more importantly, aesthetically. Do go.