Whilst meandering through olde London towne, one chanced upon Wolfe’s Bar and Grill. On a whim, one entered and partook of a dry Martini cocktail (or two). Upon departing, one decided to return another time to sample more substantial fare than a cocktail. Read on and you will no doubt suggest that your dear Doctor should have heeded the adage “once bitten, twice shy” for this is a miserable tale of woe.
Wolfe’s – “World famous since 1975, from the day the first restaurant opened in Park Lane”. Thus it is stated on their web site. Indeed, upon entering, one’s first impression is of a modern, classy establishment quite in keeping with your Doctor’s tastes. A highly polished wooden bar with a brass rail and a mirrored ceiling prove very appealing. The menu and décor of the establishment seem to have been borrowed from classy American establishments such as the Capital Grill. Your Doctor was initially attracted here by the allure of cocktails advertised at under £5, unbelievable value for a cocktail in London or so one would think. Surely this was to good to be true? Once bitten…
On this first visit, it was evident that the barmaid could read a list of cocktail ingredients but had as much knowledge of how to mix them as cook does of thermodynamics. The Martini was served in a Margarita glass and was enough to make James Bond threaten to kill her with his Walther PPK. On discovering that vermouth abounded within the mix thereby fearing she was trying to poison him, he would have shot her….twice!…Just to make sure.
So, the Martini was vile. Harrumph! Yet, mes amis! This first visit was saved with the arrival of the “real” bar tender who was very genial and Explained that on arriving on shift he saw the abomination being concocted by his colleague and had tried to salvage the situation with the addition of some more gin but he had been too late. He poured a more palatable Martini on the house and clearly demonstrated that he knew his onions. He so impressed your Doctor that one decide to return. The warning signs were there, but not heeded by your dear Doctor. Once bitten..
Your Doctor returned a few weeks later with chum Fortescue in tow.The same barmaid as previously was there. one decide to opt for a Manhattan, surely she couldn’t ruin that! “Doctor, you fool! one hears you shout. The Manhattan arrived served in a highball glass loaded with ice and was as close to Manhattan as San Fransisco is to Florida. it was vile although this was to be expected. We were shown to our table by a friendly waitress and were installed next to a window through which one could see the kitchen. Egad! the glass was badly smeared and quite disgustingly dirty. The warning signs were there and one’s concerns were mounting. Your Doctor wondered if the “cocktail standard” would also be applied to the food. Once bitten…..
The menus came. There was a “Toptable” menu offer, two courses and glass of wine, £18.50. It sounded reasonable but we declined this in preference for the a-la-carte. And so, without keeping you in suspense dear reader, here in all its glory is the daguerrotype of one’s main course. Note the inclusion of some lovely green vegetables and no sign of any deep fried frozen food to accompany the steak which is elegantly decked out with a plastic stick to let one know that this is medium rare.
One must be fair, the mushrooms were most crunchy (in a deep fried kind of way!) but alas, the meal had all the finesse of a day-glow orange juggernaut parked in an Asda car park with Priscilla of the Desert dancing atop. The steak was not tough but was fairly tasteless and one was glad for the accompanying sauce to add some flavour. The rest of the meal (yes one had all three courses) is hardly worth mentioning. It was like a poor man’s Berni Inn yet more expensive. Despite one’s hopeful expectations they were dashed and shattered on the rocks of ice still melting in one’s Manhattan cocktail. Come back Mr. Bond and do the barmaid…and us a favour.
Wolfe’s Bar and Grill
30 Great Queen Street
Tel: 020 7831 4442