Before a recent trip to London, I polled some food obsessed friends about where to eat. The overwhelming reply was Quo Vadis, a Soho institution of sorts that has recently welcomed super talented and much adored chef Jeremy Lee, formerly of Blueprint Café. Quo Vadis, which opened in 1926, was taken over by Sam and Eddie Hart (of Barrafina and Fino) a few years back, and now, under their continuing patronage, the restaurant has a new and improved direction thanks to Lee.
The menu is simple, playful (in the form of whimsical drawings on the page), and replete with delectable offerings at relatively reasonable prices. Certain items are constant, while others change based on market availability. In late February, my dining companions Kitty, Cicely, Claire and I started with baked salsify and parmesan. We followed with the eel and horseradish sandwich (so perfectly tender and plump we ordered seconds), crab soup with rouille and croutons and the squid, fennel and puntarella salad. Each dish was uncomplicated, well executed, and delicious.
Other menu items include a daily pie (hare and beef are on the menu today for £16), a range of selections from the grill (an onglet for £17.5 or leg of lamb for £18.5), and some offal (ox liver onions and sage, £15.5) and fish (skate, black butter and capers, £18). Throughout the day, Quo Vadis offers 2- and 3 coure theater set menus for £17.5 and £20, respectively.
If you make it to the revamped spot, you’ll be tempted to fill up on the starters and mains, but do leave room for desserts. Emphasis on the plural. It’s not just the Gusbourne Estate Blanc de Blancs talking when I say you should get one of each. We ordered just four and regretted not getting the whole lot. Unfortunately we closed the place down and a second dessert round was out of the question. The walnut meringue with quince, pear and vanilla ice cream was delicate and light. Coffee ice cream and biscuits alternated in lovely layers. Lemon posset and rhubarb were a bit tangy without being competitive and the pink grapefruit, orange and Campari sorbet was fresh and got the thumbs up from resident expert Kitty.
Quo Vadis is justifiably the hottest table in Soho right now, thanks to chef Jeremy Lee’s talent and charm (you will certainly see him pop out of the kitchen now and again to fondly greet guests). Book well in advance.
26-29 Dean Street
London W1D 3LL
Tel 020 7437 9585
Mon-Sat noon-2:45pm & 5:30-10:45pm