After work drinks. Something I’m just getting back into after a what feels like a long stint of not drinking much. I can tell you, I’m loving it.
It might have something to do with the fact that I think I’m actually in my dream job. Yep I said it. Dream job. No pressure to pass my probation now. But if you have a good work day with people you’ve grown to love, even if it is busy and little stressy, you’re more up for a cheeky glass or two as soon as it hits end of office hours. Rather than hitting the gym and crawling under a duvet, dealing with as little people as possible.
Last week, Fran and I walked down to Quaglino’s in Piccadilly to try the new Q Aperitivo menu which launched at the end of January.
Quaglino’s is a European brasserie and seafood specialist restaurant and bar, which hosts live music too. In fact, it turned out that Fran’s Granddad had worked there back in the day.
I’d never been to Quaglino’s before, and although knew not to wear trainers (something I pride myself in not wearing all week anymore), I wasn’t sure how fancy it’d be. My gosh, it was stunning.
Seriously swanky, Quaglino’s is set over two floors – the bottom a restaurant, the top the bar area. With the interior in predominantly blacks and golds, it had a real top end, sophisticated and suave feel to it. We sure felt a little under-dressed.
There was a live Italian band playing music as we entered (something which is a regular occurrence alongside the new Q Aperitivo menu). The team waiting on us was prompt and ready with recommendations in line with the drinks we like.
The Q Aperitivo menu is named after the Apertivo occasion in Italy; a popular time of day when you meet friends after work for a light bite and cocktails before dinner. Inspired by Quaglino’s Italian born founder Giovanni Quaglino, the line-up features Italian liquors synonymous with Aperitivo hour blended with a range of hand-picked ingredients. The selection of seven cocktails, created by Quaglino’s passionate bar team, give guests the opportunity to enjoy cocktails from the most famous regions of north and south Italy.
Drinks did take a little longer than I’d usually wait which is the only downside to the evening – so this is definitely a place for if you’re looking for somewhere to just relax for the evening, not in a rush to get anywhere else.
The Il Pupo was my favourite, just cutting above the others I tried. Oregano infused Belvedere, Averna and homemade orange marmalade with spiced ginger ale, it had a subtle ginger flavour but was still slightly sweet. It didn’t have a strong alcoholic edge. Served with a thin ginger biscuit on top, it was always going to be a winner right?!
The La Gondola, was also very good. Very sweet, the cocktail consists of a mix of Maraschino, lime and kiwi topped up with Prosecco, and made a thick almost puree style mix. Think bellilni but kiwi. It was beautifully presented, with green sugar crystals on the outer side of the glass, making it stand out from the rest. I think almost everyone made sure they ordered this to try!
The La Scala was a little different. The cocktail arrived in an almost test tube style glass – something which reminded me of school chemistry lesson days. The waiter then poured the cocktail, made from Campari, Martini Rubino, Cynar and Amer Picon, into the glass at the table. Inspired by one of the classic and most appreciated Aperitif
around Italy, this one was a lot stronger than the others. Fran really enjoyed it, however, sipping whilst tucking into our bar snacks.
The snack menu which accompanies the Q Aperitivo cocktails features five options. Created by Executive Head Chef Piero Leone, it is limited on the veggie and vegan choices, yet great for the meat and fish eaters. Options included the likes of arancini, calamari and smoked beef carpaccio.
The Arancini Di Riso, Bottarga, Acciughe mayo was slightly tangy yet subtle in flavour. Tomato arancini, anchovies mayo, espelette chilly, grated bottarga, the portions were large, and each perfectly formed bite was deliciously creamy inside.
The Tapenade Di Olive Taggiasche e Pane Carasau, made one perfect appetiser for enjoying over drinks. The Black Ligurian olives tapenade, was fresh, rich and oily. The crispy carasau bread, was super thin, a lot like crackers, and were great for dipping. I was surprised to see some of the carasau bread was black too! I would definitely order this next time!
It was a shame we only had time to test out just under half of the menu – we did order another cocktail but unfortunately the three ladies beside us, who were there to try the menu too, snapped them up, and pretended they didn’t realise even though there were more of them, and the drinks weren’t what they ordered. Such a shame as these are the kind of people who give us bloggers a bad name. Oh Well, luckily from the ones we tried, and the reactions around us, we think we still managed to get a good picture.
We did pop to the toilets on the way out, and it’s safe to say, the Gatsby feel runs right through from the restaurant to the toilets. My outfit also matched the toilets, so I had a lot of fun with that haha.
- Price: Cocktails on the Q Aperitivo menu are priced at £12.50 which is pretty standard for central London, but you’d expect it to be more at somewhere like this. Bar snacks range from £6-£9.
- Food: fab snacks and appetizers to accompany drinks. The Tapenade di Olive is a must order.
- Drinks: creative, beautifully presented and plenty of variety
- Atmosphere: sophisticated, premium. Touch of Gatsby.
- Service/Wait: extremely friendly and helpful, but a tad on the slower side
What’s your favourite cocktail right now? Have you found any good after work drinking spots I should try?
*I was invited along to try the new Q Aperitivo Menu. All views my own.