We all know how it goes. The night starts out with good intentions. You’ve handed in your coursework with just 2 minutes to spare. You want some fun. You round up your friends and dance the stress away while screaming Beyoncé lyrics at the top of your lungs, having the time of your life as a student in one of the best cities in the world. That lasts like 10 minutes. Then someone gets kicked out, someone else disappears and ends up in the other side of London all while you are making bad decision on the dance floor with your ex. Only one thing can fix a night like this. Food.
McDonalds is the place of choice for students when it comes to that. You know what you are in for and they have many locations that are open late at night. Then there are the kebab and chicken shops conveniently placed close to the club with reasonable yet slightly higher prices than they should be. They haven’t done us wrong yet. And yet, I still I think we deserve more. We deserve space and comfort while we eat as much food as we can get our hands on. That’s where VQ comes in. They are a chain of 24 hours restaurants (with a few pesky outliers) that are willing to accommodate the tired and tipsy that stumble in through the night with never ending breakfast. We gave them a visit sober to see if they deserve to see us at our worst.
To start, we had their chicken and waffles. An American southern classic with enough grease and sugar to lull any drunk to serenity. It came as 3 boneless fried chicken pieces on top of 1 waffle which was a weird ratio. The chickens could barely fit and it would have plated much better to have a second waffle. Nevertheless, the taste did not disappoint. I found that the breading was well seasoned and paired perfectly with the intense sweetness of the waffle. Having the fillets dipped in their maple syrup was a religious experience. It’s a shame that that this isn’t part of their breakfast menu because this would definitely get me going in the morning.
We still needed to try out another comfort food for eating the humiliation of the night away, so we got the apple crumble. This was another sugary treat and with some custard in a bowl to the side. The custard was without a doubt the highlight of the dish with the smooth, golden liquid warmed us up from the inside out. The size of the bowls made it hard to incorporate the two treats with each other – a problem that only be heightened in a drunken state – but that’s what you have the sober friend for.
Outside of their comfort food we needed to also trial the establishment as an actual restaurant. Their smoked salmon tagliatelle looked and smelled amazing, with enough salmon to ease the wound to our bank accounts, but there just wasn’t enough cream sauce. Due to this, the whole thing just ended up being dry even though the taste did, otherwise, deliver.
Now I’m not going to lie to you. Some of the prices had our student wallets shaking in their overdrafts. But that’s why this place is different. It’s not for when you bought one too many rounds at the bar and are worried about how you are going to afford the uber home let alone your post-club meal. It’s for when you need to be waited on after having to run after your crazy friends all night. Like they say, you are what you eat. So maybe – just maybe – if you eat above your actual mood of regret and bad decisions, you can feel above it too.
From Aldgate to Bloomsbury to Clapham, they have restaurant all over London, so you are bound to pass one on your way back home. There is even one in Fulham (where they started out) that is open 24 hours and has a 24-hour alcohol licence if you want to keep the party going for some inane reason. Their breakfast menu is always available so you can have your full English at 4 am while wondering how you ended up in this situation with some semblance of a functionality surrounding you.