Floral Frascati Restaurant, London

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]

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

[/sources]

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64 thoughts on “Floral Frascati Restaurant, London”

  1. 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

  2. I just acquired a Mappin and Webb silver plate tray that has a logo on it for Frascati’s restaurant. It’s great to be able to find a bit of history about the place so that I could date it. It looks like it would be from the beginning of the 20th century and that fits in with the restaurant history.

  3. I was born in 1943 and remember going to Frascati with my parents a few times. There was a staircase down to the cloakrooms and, one time, I got together with another girl of similar age and we spent a time on that staircase collecting sequins that were falling of the ladies dresses. I do believe it was said that there was a bar in the mens cloakroom!
    Happy days.

  4. My grandfather would say to us grandkids, if and when we were rude especially at the dinner table, that he wouldn’t be taking us to Frascatis anytime soon. This was in the 70s. I have wondered through the years if such a place still existed. This is a great site, a bit sad to see it was destroyed during the war.

  5. I am also pleased to find this website. My Father John Mallaley worked at Frascati as a Pastry Chef pre. World War 2
    His mentor who he always referred to with a lot of respect as ‘Old Veniere’, ( not sure of the spelling), was I believe Head Pastry Chef at this time. I was given to understand that Monsieur Venier was Viennese. Dad passed away in 2007. I would love to hear from anyone who has any memory of either my Dad or his Mentor.
    Anne Mallaley Grandjean.

  6. I have a menu for a wedding luncheon from 1917 for the restaurant Frascati

  7. My father Stanley Davies (deceased) worked at Frascati Restaurant. Think it was in the 40s. He was aged 14, he worked at a waiter. He travelled from Greenwich.
    So pleased I can put some pictures to the memories my father spoke about.

    Penny

  8. My great-grandfather, Aristide Menghetti, worked here, but I have no idea what he did. My grandmother was born in 1901, so I presume Aristide worked at Frascati’s in the late 19th/early 20th century. On a separate occasion, my gran told me her father “sold icecream”. Perhaps Aristide worked in the kitchen. It would be wonderful to know.

  9. Hi.

    I love the site and am researching my grandfather H H Perrin who was the pianist in the orchestra picture. He also played for silent movies before the Talkies cut that job short. If anyone has any music programs of numbers played in the 20s and 30s I would be very interested as I would like to recreate a typical night with my band. In earlier years in know the music program was printed on the menus. He was a very accomplished musician who played jazz, dance band and light orchestral pieces. He also tried composing but never published anything.

  10. As a child in the 1940’s I can remember coming to London twice with my parents and eating at Frascati’s. They served me with a cordial in a tall glass where the liquid was in different layers – red and green and yellow. Its what a child remembers! The second visit the place had been bombed and the interior was draped and divided by huge tarpaulins but business carried on.
    Reading the editorial above I was amazed to note that the manager in the 1920’s was a Mr W G Cox, and a keen freemason. My father’s father was W G Cox, living at Abbey Wood although I had understood he worked as a manager at the Woolwich Arsenal. And he was indeed Worshipful Grand Master of his Lodge. But it may be a reason why my dad still chose Frascati’s to dine. Unfortunately nobody left alive who would know.

  11. My paternal grandparents had their wedding reception here on Wednesday January 6 1926.
    It was her second marriage three years after the death of my grandfather. Her second husband was a Canadian army officer who had been billeted at her house in Wembley.
    I have their menu “signed” by my late father – he was six at the time – and his late sister, among others.
    Six courses for 4s 6d!

  12. I have in my possession a fan 20cm long which is signed by members of the family on the occasion of my parent’s marriage 3rd October 1931. There is nothing except my late Mother’s word that it was at Frascatti’s. It has green struts and white and green flowered pattern.

  13. My grandfather, Karl Schmeidl of Nikolsburg, Austria, was Maitre D. at Frascati’s for an unknown number of years until World War Two began. I have 2 photos of him posing with other staff members in the restaurant.

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