Anyone for swing and scallops? The self-styled Mini Big Band brought their smooth vintage jazz to the West End’s iconic Quaglino’s for a night of fine dining and dancing in the aisles.
I’m trying to remember the first time in the evening that I realised this could well be a little different to the usual establishments I frequent (see, Pizza Express or latest dirty burger joint to pop up within a four mile radius of me). Was it when the doorman (yes reader) opened the door so stylishly upon my arrival? Was it when the sommelier suggested a wine and I found myself nodding my head in feigned approval? Or was it when I noticed the private function room and re-considered my ambitions in the public sector? Pure, unadulterated capitalism never looked so good.
Quaglino’s, a seafood specialists just off Jermyn Street, is the ideal place for an evening when you want to treat yourself or a loved one to a touch of glamour. It is up-market without being stuffy, grand but not intimidating. The clientele is also surprisingly diverse for a restaurant with butter knives. It has a bar area upstairs as well, so if you wanted to experience West End glitz without the financial repercussions, an aperitif would be sufficient.
Quaglino’s, not satisfied with providing only gastronomical gratification, treated its guests to the swinging sounds of Mini Big Band, a ten piece brass jazz band. Classics from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and…Meghan Trainor were all performed to perfection. The band was at times perhaps a little too eager to get people clapping along (my dining partner pointed out this was probably not entirely reminiscent of 1950s New York) but the band were genuine fun and the musicality spot on. Quaglino’s puts on events like these often, so if you were planning on going to a live music night I would suggest only nabbing a front stage table if you think a trombone playing in a busy room wouldn’t overly impede conversation.
Sometimes in London it can feel overwhelming the amount of choice we are given for things to do and places to eat. And sometimes in the haste to try everything those choices can become indistinguishable from one another. A retreat into established territory rooted in history (its inception by one Giovanni Quaglino was in 1929) is a welcome tonic to what can feel like a rushed and subsequently soulless restaurant culture. Quaglino’s is just that tonic. Just make sure you try the top brand gins whilst you’re at it.