Floral Frascati Restaurant, London

Frascati restaurant at 32 Oxford Street, London was celebrated for its cosmopolitanism, luxury and excellent cuisine and was a sumptuous and elegant venue that was highly regarded for its international cuisine.

An impression of the interior of Frascati restaurant with dancers, London

An impression of the interior of Frascati restaurant with dancers, London

 

 

Opening in 1893 Frascati restaurant grew to be an institution with its large, fashionable clientele, and was also a favoured venue among businessmen from London and the regions which was a sure sign that it produced good food and comfort.

The façade with a large frontage was renovated in the late 20s comprised a handsome gold portico with gold metal work framing the large windows and thousands of sheets of gold leaf were used. One entered via a yellow and gold revolving door into a spacious vestibule or lounge area with thick red pile carpets with futurist patterns, vividly coloured brocade settees and brocade curtains and large gilt chandeliers replaced old crystal ones.

An impression of the interior of Frascati restaurant, London

An impression of the interior of Frascati restaurant with dancers, London

 

 

On the right of the lounge was the Grill Room with large open charcoal grills. The central space was the actual main restaurant which was a spectacular and immense room called the Winter Garden that rose to a huge glass dome and also had a wide balcony that overlooked the space below. There was simply nothing like it in London and the architect built one other edifice rather resembling it in Amsterdam. On the ground floor there were two other large offshoot rooms – quite restaurants in themselves in size.

Frascati restaurant was also a popular place for banquets and dinners and there were numerous private rooms for private functions including the Louis XIV Salon or Alexandra Hall. Also, since the manager Mr W.G. Cox was an enthusiastic Freemason, it was a favoured place of Freemasons and allegedly contained a well-appointed Masonic Temple. Since he was also past president of the Gastronomic Society (a society for heads of the chief hotels, restaurants and clubs), the Gastronomes hold their monthly dinner there.

The magnificent décor was in gold and silver throughout and all the chairs in the Winter Garden, the Balcony and the Grill were leather seated and backed. The proprietors of Frascati prided itself on its flowers and floral decorations are everywhere arranged in vases around pillars, on tables, in the lounge and in the window boxes and hanging baskets outside. Frascati’s usually treat St. George’s Day (23rd April) as a special event and the place became a bower of red roses everywhere and a gala dinner was given.

There was a wonderful orchestra and dancing took place on the uncarpeted dance floor that is shaped like a banjo following the round of the balcony and extending into one of the restaurant wings.

 

 

The Head Chef in the 1920s was Jules Matagne, a substantial Belgian, who had been chef to the late King Leopold of Belgians, and had spent a good deal of his life in France and never attempted to learn English. The cuisine prided itself on many things and was continental in flavour and one of the restaurants features was its trout tank. During the mid 1920s, one could dine there modestly for lunch or dinner with a set table d’hote lunch served on the balcony for 4s 6d and dinner 7s 6d. There was also a more elaborate a la carte menu

An impression of the interior of Frascati restaurant, London

An impression of the interior of Frascati restaurant with dancers, London

An impression of the interior of Frascati restaurant, LondonOne menu from the late 1920s for the 19th Annual Banquet for the Gastronomes comprised Les Perles de Whitstable; Le Consommé Ollio or La Crème Souveraine; Les Filets de Sole Concorde; La Ruche Financiere; Les Coeurs de Palmier l’Orientale; Les Supremes de Perdreau Sans nom la Salade Lelia; La Parfait de Foie Gras and La Durprise Frascat Mignardises.

Frascati’s endured through the 1930s but seemingly was destroyed during the Second World War.

The Interior of Frascati restaurant, London

The interior of Frascati restaurant with dancers, London

 

The interior of Frascati restaurant, London 

All images and text © copyright Gary Chapman / Jazz Age Club and must not be re-used without prior consent

Sources:

The Restaurants of London by Eileen Hooton-Smith (1928)
London Restaurants by Diner-Out (1924)

Information and some pictures from Dario De Sanctis with thanks

45 Responses to “Floral Frascati Restaurant, London”

  1. Fantastic site, where did you come up with the knowledge in this piece of content? Im glad I found it though, ill be checking back soon to see what other articles you have.

  2. Gary says:

    I am glad you like the website & this piece. I have been fascinated by Frascati’s for ages and only wish it was still around – it must have been spectacular. My sources are listing at the bottom of the page : basically two books about London restaurants published in the 20s.

  3. Dario De Sanctis says:

    Congratulations for your beautiful site. I’m searching news referring to Frascati Restaurant because I live in Frascati,Italy. I’m not convinced that the Frascati closed in the early 1930, because I have some documents and objects of Frascati Restaurant dated 1936 and 1937 showing that in such years The Royal Family celebrated jubilees there. I think that the bombings during the second world war destroyed the buiding.
    The restaurant was located at 26 Oxford Street up to 32. Could you let me know which shops are now located there?
    Please let me know your e-mail address so that I can send you some documents and pictures of the Restaurant. Thank you
    Dario De Sanctis

  4. T. Love-Taylor says:

    I was born in 1941,and as a child I was taken to Frascati, so it existed some time after the end of the war. My parents and their friends used to go there at least once a year. I couldn’t remember exactly where it was, and I’m so glad to track it down. I would love to know when it closed.
    Thank you!

  5. R.M.Healey says:

    Because I am interested in the writers Geoffrey Grigson and Wyndham Lewis, who visited the restaurant in the 30s, I was delighted to acquire recently at auction two plated serving dishes bearing the name Frascati London.
    I don’t know how they left the kitchen at Frascati’s , but I will treasure them as mementos of this famous London restaurant.

  6. Andrew Ashton says:

    I have a menu from Frascati dated 1929 each of the dishes is named after a person who attended that particular dinner. The menu is autographed on the back, so you have, for example; Sumon Hardy then Fricassee des Poulet Vera , Consomme Pere James etc.

    It’s a lovely thing!

  7. Jon Daniels says:

    Hi,
    My grandfather played at Frascati’s after the war (post 1946)

  8. melanie von berg says:

    I have a fan with Frascati London, I wonder if anyone else has one. It sounds such a wonderful restaurant, what a shame it is no longer.

  9. melanie von berg says:

    I have just realised there is one at the top of the page, how wonderful, I will keep mine, a lovely memento!!!

  10. Jeanette Ifill says:

    My Grandfather, William MacDonald, was a Head Waiter at Frascati. He went to work in morning dress and bowler hat. I was born in 1938, and lived with my grandfather and grandmother when I was about 6. I remember my grandfather very well, and my Mother told me that he did not receive a remuneration for his work, and indeed paid his own stamp, and lived on tips, apparently giving my grandmother £20 a week for housekeeping.

  11. Your website is full of information -wonderful. I am interested because I am researching the original architect, Thomas Edward Collcutt. Collcutt also designed an extension to the Holburn Restaurant at Marble Arch(now demolished) The manager of both restaurants was Thomas Hamp, whose son Stanley Hings Hamp eventually became Collcutt’s partner in 1906 -Collcutt & Hamp.

    The interior of the restaurant looks very playful and perhaps not by Collcutt. He is best known for designing the Savoy and the Palace Theater in Cambridge Circus.

    Does anyone have more information about the architecture or origin of Frascati’s??

  12. Rebecca Triggs says:

    Hi I stumbled across this page as I was looking for information on the restaurant, my husband’s Great grandfather was William George Cox who was the manager of Frascati’s. His grandmother recently passed away and we received some things from her estate which included some books of matches from the restaurant as well as some photos. Would love any other information you might have.
    Many thanks
    Rebecca

  13. Stephen Cox says:

    Chanced on this when some reason remembered Frascati’s!

    I was born 1938 and as a young boy can just remeber visiting for lunch. Guess it was my parents annual visit to Oxford Street where my mother would purchase her winter coat. We lived at Chelmsford.

    I have two distinct memories of the restaurant: It had just been bombed and was swathed in white sheets, maybe tarpulins, but was still functioning. And that the waiter produced an amazing (to a small boy) tall drink of different coloured cordials in layers!

    I expect we went to Hamleys after lunch when I got my first dinkey toys, a green Lagonda and a fire engine!

  14. Jane says:

    My Great-Granfather Felix Ankenbrand was the Restaurant Superindendant up until 1913 and maybe afterwards. Although he died in 1919 as a “restaurant keeper” I don’t know which one.

    I have just found this site and am dying to know more- Can anyone pin down Frascati’s actual fate??

    I looked up the address now and apparantly there are just standard high st shops there now. I think Clintons and Claires Accessories.

  15. Lena Alami says:

    Lovely website. I looked up Frascati’s as my father in law’s father worked there in the 1920’s. He remembers going in to see his dad working there and has a few little stories to tell. His father, Thomas John Luff, was the Head Vegetable Chef there in the 1920’s. If you have any more information about the restaurant, that would be great. Thanks, Lena

  16. JenK says:

    I believe my Grandfather Giuseppe Antonio Garella worked as a waiter here around 1920’s. would love to find out more. Thank you.

  17. Angela says:

    My father was a Freemason and his Lodge held their Ladies’ Nights at Frascati’s. I attended one there when my father was Master of his Lodge, just a few nights after King George VI died in 1952. I have a photo of my parents at Frascati’s dated 1954, so it was still going strong some years after the war.

  18. Pauline Conolly says:

    I am pubishing a book early next year through Robert Hale called The Water Daughter’s Daughters. It features Frascatis London restaurant and I am hoping someone may have an image suitable for print publication I could use. It must be at least 1MB ad 300dpi.

    Many thanks
    Pauline Conolly
    conollyp@optunet.com.au

  19. Gary says:

    Dear Pauline, all my images are under license to the Mary Evans Picture Library http://www.maryevans.com…. just search for Frascati and get in touch with them…. Gary

  20. Vanessa says:

    According to family knowledge, a relative of mine by the name of Serricio Youkitanie, also known as Edward, was once connected with Frascati’s.

    I am researching our family history and would be very interested to know if anyone remembers him and if so, what his connection to ‘Frascatis’was.

  21. […] londinesi: ieri a cena fuori con Poirot e il capitano Hastings di ritorno dall’Argentina. Da Frascati a Oxford Street, serviti dal capo chef Jules Matagne, connazionale di Poirot, seguace del Sauternes e dei filetti […]

  22. Linda says:

    I too am doing family research and have a family connection to the restaurant. My
    grandfather H J Stevenson worked there for a period of time probably pre and post world war one. His career in the trade ended with him being head waiter during the 1952-1953 Royal tour of New Zealand.
    His father, William Stevenson, (my Great Grandfather) also worked at the restaurant, for what we understood was 40 years. If anyone can help with any information on these two gentlemen,
    we would be over the moon.

  23. Robert Hall says:

    I have a group of original architects’ drawings and printed plans from the office of Collcutt & Hamp for Frascati’s restaurant, specifically for the York Room, the domed ceiling and balcony plan of the Winter Garden, and the entire subsidiary building of the restaurant’s offices and stores etc in Hanway Street opposite the rear entrance of the main restaurant. I am currently cataloguing them for an auction to take place on 14th/15th November 2012. By sheer coincidence, from a different source, I have designs for some lavish gilt metalwork thought to be for the later facelift of the restuarant c.1930, by the Birmingham Guild Ltd, an arts & crafts company of specialist craftsmen and silversmiths. Contact me if you would like to see them.

  24. Dear Robert Hall,

    I would be very interested to see the Collcutt and Hamp drawings. I am in London next week (23-25 October) I know that Thomas Collcutt designed the original restaurant in 1893. The conversion illustrated in your drawings are probably more the work of Stanley Hamp than Collcutt. As Collcutt retired after 1920 (he died in 1924) the 1930s Birmingham Guild drawings would have been under the supervision of Hamp. It is interesting how a restaurant ,once central to West End life can disappear almost without trace.

    Best Wishes,

    Martin O’Rourke

  25. lynne says:

    I have recently discovered that Edward Youkitanie married my grandmother…please contact me and we may be able to piece his history together.

  26. Dear Martin and Robert

    I’ve just found your exchange and I too would be interested to see these drawings – perhaps I’m too late if they were sold in November. My interest is on behalf of the Survey of London where I’m beginning research on the history of Frascati’s restaurant. There are, as you may know, current proposals to redevelop the site. I’ve yet to visit, but the dome (shape) survives.

    best wishes

    Peter

  27. Stumbled on this site while tracing my grandfather…Georges Haeck…He was my mnother’s father. He had an orchestra at Frascati’s in the 20’s30’s.
    Found a record for sale on e bay
    …Dominion Records……..La Tosca……
    Georges Haeck [ from Frascati’s Restrant ]
    and his orchestra’
    Long shot but does anybody have any more infomation or photos ???
    Regards to any reader T.D.

  28. michael williams says:

    I agree with T. Love-taylor, I went to FRascati’s many times with my Grandfather from 1945 when I went to boarding school, up until the late forties & early fifties, so it couldnt have been destroyed in the war ! I would be very interested to learn when it DID close.

  29. C Abrehamsen says:

    Hi from NZ – What a great site to find – I too just came across this site while trying to find any family history of Georges Haeck and his Orchestra. He has been listed as playing at this restaurant and I would love to find out more about his activity there and if anyone may have any photos that incl any of the Orchestra. It is believed that He played the Violin and was a conductor. Only a few recordings were ever done with his music as technology was still very new. If you have any information you could share please get in touch with me.

    Chris
    chrissfour@gmail.com

  30. Peter James Shaw says:

    My late father, James Shaw (born 1892) was the maitre’d at Frascatis ….he died, suddenly, in 1953 and in the year 1954, I believe, Frascatis was demolished. My mother, Lilian, has photos and a Frascati brochure from that period and us still herself going strong at 91! Thanks for the info!!

  31. Brenda says:

    Edward Youkitanie married twice. His first wife was Lillian Johnson and his second was Winifred Seabrook. Which one are you related to? I am related to Winifred, she was my great aunt.

  32. stan james says:

    hi im stan . iworked on the original frascatis restaurant dismantleing the whole building sadley.i still have aspoon as amomentam at the time i worked for john healey pavement lighting & gee walker &slater .the main dismantlers.i have parts of crystle chanderliers. the blue mosque i rember very well.kind regaurds stan.

  33. stan james says:

    hi im stan james ive been searching this for the past 7 years !. i was thrilled to have discovered it on the 10 of feb 2014.i was 16 yrs old when iworked on this famous restaurant.oxford street west end london.i worked for the main contractor GEE WALKER & SLATER ALSO JOHN HEALEY . WHO WAS THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR SADLEY DEMOLISHING THIS FABULOUS RESTAURANT.I STILL HAVE A DESERT SPOON’&CRYSTAL CHANDERLIER PARTS.THE BLUE TEMPLE WILL ALWAYS STAY IN MY MIND.ITS LIFE ENDED IN 1953.I STILL LOVE TO THINK THAT IT SHOULD HAVE REMAINED AS IT WAS.ONCE AGAIN SADLY IT WAS NOT TO BE.I REMAIN A VERY BIG FAN OF FRASCATIS RESTAURENT LONDON. BEST WISHES TO ALL CONCERNED STAN

  34. John Wood says:

    Hi, a little bit random but my late Father who never knew his Father was named Albert Edward Youkitanie Wood and my late Grandmother was Lillian Clara Wood. My late Father was born 5th November 1926 and lived in the Goodrich/Ross-on-Wye area. I just wonDered whether there might be a family connection?

  35. lynne says:

    My grandmother was Lillian Johnson. We only recently (2 years ago) found out that Edward Youkitanie stayed in London, re married bigamously,and had a son. We were told he went back to Canada after WW1 and never returned leaving my grandmother to bring up her children alone.
    We have been informed he became a chef in London, working at the Connaught and maybe Frascati but would like further information.

  36. Steve Haywood says:

    I have a piece of crockery, a moon shaped dish with the Frascati Restaurant Coat of Arms. It is dated 1936.
    Does it have any value or interest?

  37. baudot marie-christine says:

    Dear,
    My grandfather “Jules PREEL” ate at the restaurant Frascati for tuesday 15th july 1919 about parade to celebrate the victory of 1914/1918 war . Have you got the informations about that. I’d like to know is the restaurant Frascati always in activity to day? I’d like to come with my 3 brothers and my sisters and low, to eat into this restaurant.
    Could you give me all this informations.
    Best regards
    Marie-Christine baudot

  38. I have retouched a group photo taken in Frascati circa 1930-1935 of staff, which includes my grandfather, Karl Schmeidl, far left! One more photo will be added once I have completed retouching it . Perhaps some of you will recognize your relatives. Any further information is appreciated!
    LDH
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dawnone/14483655783/

  39. Andy says:

    I have the information that my Great-Grandfather Anton Hampl worked in this famous restaurant around 1900. He learned waiter in Karlsbad/Karlovy Vary and went to London. Some of his british friends later visited him at his hometown in Germany. Does anyone know more about his position at Frascati’s? Would be glad to receive more Information.
    Best regards
    Andy

  40. Roger Arnaud says:

    I believe my Grandfather Georges Albert Arnaud worked there in the 1920’s as a chef.

    Any information would be appreciated.

  41. Lorna says:

    Thank you so much for posting this information. My Husband’s grandfather, Percival Salter, worked there until WW2. I think he held a fairly senior waiter’s position, he did not receive a salary but earned his living from tips.
    He talked about the fabulous ice sculptures created in the form of swans. It will be nice to share this page with his great- grandchildren.

  42. Valerie Jarvis says:

    i have a menu for a dinner at Frascati’s on 5 May 1951 celebrating the Festival of Britain. it has the autographs of Sir Laurence Olivier and Lady Vivien Leigh on the back page. is this of interest or value?

  43. Stephen Bartley says:

    I would love to see any old menus or photos of Frascati’s. It was the venue of the Unshrinkables 1st Battalion Dinner held on December 9th 1915.

    This Home Front Volunteer Militia was the ‘Dads Army’ of WW1. It originally consisted of Artists, Architects, Actors, Musicians,Writers and Journalists who were ineligible to enlist in Kitchener’s Army due to their age, fitness or marital status. Later many who had done their basic training with the United Arts Volunteer Rifles, as it was officially called, joined active regiments on the Front Line, or served in the RAMC, Intelligence, Supply Corps. The Camouflage School in Kensington Gardens was one of their creations.

    The Inaugural Dinner of the Re-formed UNshrinkables 14-18, a tribute band and performance group, will be held at Chelsea Arts Club on December 9th 2015

    Hon.Sec.
    UNshrinkables

  44. Brian Marks says:

    I would love to make contact with Rebecca Triggs . Please refer to response number 12 above . Rebecca, my wife & I are “family history nuts” and I think that your husband and I are related via the COX family line .
    Do please get in touch.
    Brian Marks

  45. Bob Ford says:

    I was taken to this establishment in either 1962 or 1963. Things I remember

    1. The magnificent decor
    2. The Bombe Alaska dessert
    3. My God Parents leaving a 5 pound tip
    4. White linen table cloths and napkins

    Bob Ford

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