26-29 Dean Street
WHAT AND WHERE? If you haven’t heard of Quo Vadis by now, then quo eras? The once-notorious brothel, and former home of Karl Marx – though not at the same time – first flung open its doors to Dean Street diners in the 1920s and it’s been a Soho staple ever since. Quintessentially British, its stained glass windows, white table cloths and leather booths make this a signature space for business lunches.
WHAT’S THE DEAL? The Soho Set menu changes monthly to reflect the season, offering two courses for £17.50 or three for £22.50.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU? Soup of the day on our visit was peppery parsnip, though there was also a soft boiled egg and beetroot salad for milder weather. Hearty appetites should go for the heavily marinated half chicken served with a spicy aioli and crispy chips. The mackerel fillet is a lighter option, despite being an entire fish, with a kicking homemade horseradish and a pot of sharply pickled tomatoes.
ROOM FOR DESSERT? Hardly, especially after that chicken. But, again, there’s a light-ish option – a creamy but zingy lemon posset with a plop of gooseberry preserve – and a heavier option, the Quo Vadis autumn mess. The presentation lives up to its name as it looks like a bowl of mashed up meringue with swirly cream poured over it. But the meringue is satisfyingly chewy and red berries replace the often overbearing sweetness of strawberries with a sharper edge.
WHAT ELSE IS WORTH HAVING? The smoked eel sandwich, pictured above, is a classic for good reason, a buttery sourdough rectangle you can really luxuriate in. It’s dripping in dijon and more of that fiery horseradish, then served with a mound of pickled red onion. This is not a phrase to use flippantly, but it’s sandwich perfection.
Go to quovadissoho.co.uk, 26-29 Dean St, Soho, W1D 3LL, or call 020 7437 9585