Quo Vadis has a wonderful location right in the heart of Dean Street in Soho. Its stained glass windows give it the appearance of a private members club and it’s somewhere I’ve wanted to try for ages but have never got around to. I thought it would be the perfect place for a friend’s birthday dinner and luckily, I wasn’t wrong!
The head chef is a guy called Jeremy Lee whom you might recognise from BBC’s Great British Menu. During our visit he was wandering around the restaurant greeting customers which was nice to see. The dining room was bright and airy and had a lovely relaxed atmosphere and all staff seemed really friendly.
The menu was on one large piece of card complete with the date and weather forecast which was a sweet touch. To start I opted for the squid, samphire, watercress and asparagus (£10.50). The squid was beautifully tender and not at all chewy (there’s nothing worse than eating grissly squid!). The flavours present were that of the ingredients and nothing else – it was simple cooking with the emphasis on great flavour combinations.
The ricotta, peas, asparagus, courgettes and garlic (£8.50) was a very Summery and fresh tasting dish. The ricotta gave off a slight tanginess which was soothed by the buttery asparagus and courgettes which was really lovely. It was a taste of the garden.
The beetroot and soft boiled egg salad (£8.50) had slightly too much beetroot as it was cut into huge chunks. Also the boiled egg was cold and we all agreed that a warm oozing egg yolk dripping over the salad would have been far more enjoyable. It was tasty but we just felt the quantities were wrong.
For main course I opted for the roast breast of duck, potato cake and watercress (£24.50). It was a big ol’ piece of duck and even though it wasn’t pre-sliced it had remained delightfully tender and pink. The skin was gloriously crispy and salty – crispy duck skin is the best right?! The potato cake was absolutely incredible and the accompanying asparagus was seriously buttery – in fact everything we ate tasted buttery – it’s a good job I have an addiction to Lurpack!
The loin of middle white pork and asparagus salad (£18.50) was delicious but it was rather salty. The crispy crackling was the culprit here – and although it was moreishly good it was overseasoned to the point of grimace. The asparagus – which featured in nearly every dish – was utterly buttery and cooked perfectly.
The two sides we ordered; courgettes beans & mint and the spring greens (both £5) featured a lot of butter also – which made them taste ruddy lovely! By this point though my arteries began to feel a little clogged – but if I had died there and then, I would have died a happy man!
All three of us were so full we decided to share a pudding. The lemon curd, sorbet and loquat meringue mess (£6.50) was one of the finest desserts I have ever eaten. It might not have been much to look at but the sweet meringue (made with almonds to give it the extra chew factor) and the sharp lemon curd were a blissful flavour combination. I have never quite tasted a meringue like it.
We had a great time during our dinner at Quo Vadis. The staff, in particular the restaurant manager, were so friendly and made us feel very comfortable indeed. Some of the dishes weren’t perfect and the flavour of butter seemed to feature throughout every dish but we forgave the mistakes, as on the whole, we enjoyed everything we tasted. We wandered off into the haze of Soho feeling very satisfied indeed.