How would you feel waking up hungover knowing that at the very least, at 3am you didn’t succumb to the greasy kebab? Instead you recall scoffing salmon fishcakes and truffle chips with a detox smoothie? You’d feel pretty chuffed, wouldn’t you? Or do you prefer cocktails at 10am and brownies for dinner without judgement? Uncovering a joint tipped by Gordon Ramsay as the "best place in London for the ultimate fry-up", allow me to share with you the wonders of VQ, which has been holding the twenty-four hour fort for foodies for a staggering eighteen years in Chelsea and just opened its second grub-hub in Bloomsbury. You’re welcome, London.
The few 24/7ers I know flex that absolute all-American diner look that we all so love. VQ, however, doesn’t stick its neck out for any cliché and stays simple with leather booths and retro cafeteria style tables. It boasts a casual chic look with projected clocks on the walls and a huge glass front spilling out for us to watch the great West End bustle by, whatever the hour. A place for the happy-spirited, the venue offers lively music and cheerful staff against the simple, modern décor, and 24-hour free wireless to help you settle in.
Atmosphere and Clientele
What I love most about VQ is the variety of clientele. There’s a family of four tucking into ice-cream, a few solo flyers on coffee, some date night-chic, granny-party on fleek (zimmer frames included) and a cute, dorky student pouring over his laptop with a huge plate of spaghetti. The vibe is relaxed, friendly and lets us focus on conversation and fooding.
Food and Drinks
Extraordinarily, the menu focuses on diverse, filling food that keeps our tastebuds tickling 'til morning. We settle for rocket, parmesan and beef carpaccio and spicy chicken wings for starters, that smack us with their fiery heat, and fully satiate our late-night heathen cravings. Mains at a 24/7 joint wouldn’t be complete without a juicy burger (£6.50) - unannounced hefty gluttonous glory with carmelized onions and truffle chips (I know you’re impressed). I brought my mum along this time because in another life I think she thinks she’d be Nigella Lawson. She concludes the salmon cakes (£8.50) taste "incredibly comforting and homemade", with a slight je ne c’est quoi (nice going, Mum..) The portions are huge, too, so come hungry.
For drinks, once again we were spoilt for choice with healthy/not-so-healthy - refreshing Detox juice (orange, carrot and apple) for mum and Elderflower Fizz for me (gin, Elderflower liqueur, Angostura, cucumber and soda); both are refreshing and faultless in their own way. Fine-quality booze is available until 4am (Thursday to Saturday, 2am between Sunday and Wednesday), from 18 y/o Maccalans to bottles of Laurent-Perrier Vintage, balancing fine with fun, and truly you can’t ask for more.
4am post-party food cravings without the kebab? Need to ponder life at midnight over a chocolate brownie? VQ is the place to be. Park up at any hour and enjoy balanced, good food in unassuming surroundings. Be yourself. Stuff your face. I promise you won’t regret it.