Let's be blunt about this from the outset - people don't go to The Groucho Club for the food. They go for the definitive 'meeja' feel-good factor (yes, even after 20 years), the possibility that someone at the next table might be having a juicy and gossip-worthy conversation, and to rubberneck the likes of Stephen Fry, Lenny Henry, Chris Evans and David Walliams.
Of course the food in the Brasserie is more than passable and the menu is well thought out, offering something for everyone. The crispy squid with lemon mayonnaise was not very crispy, but the lemon mayonnaise was certainly lemony. It was a similar story with the steak frites - the chips were disappointingly soggy, but the steak was tender and cooked to just the right shade of blue. For a longer lunch on expenses, the upstairs restaurant with its newly reworked menu is more plush and more hush-hush.
The decor of the Brasserie still has a harsh acoustic and an oddly drafty feel. But the service cannot be faulted. It is super-attentive without being cloying, friendly without being over-familiar. That is the other reason people go to the Groucho, apart from to see and be seen. They know that they will leave feeling that they have been very well looked after.
Where: 45 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 4QB
Contact: 020 7439 4685
How much: £40 a head for two courses with wine