When a rich and successful businessman I know suggested for his turn for lunch we go to Harry’s bar in South Audley Street my mind went back to another businessman from Birmingham who once there resolutely refused to pay for truffles on the basis there that the waiter did not explain the price in advance. A monumental row ensued. If you are concerned about cost Harry’s Bar is not the place for you. It was originally part of Mark Birley’s Annabel’s and Mark’s Club empire but was sold to Richard Caring. The staff are much the same and they remind me of a grand Italian hotel on the Lakes like the Villa D’Este. The waiters wear cream jackets, the waitresses in neat blue maid’s uniform. As with Annabel’s the intent is to create a clubby townhouse elegance. It was warm enough to sit outside which we did.
I chose a timbale of crab in a gazpacho sauce which was quite delicious and summery. After I went for one of my faves, veal Milanese with fried flowers of zucchini. I did perceive a momentary look of bemusement from my host when seeing the bill though we had no truffles!!! A lawyer friend of mine said the prices bear no relation to reality but it’s that sort of exclusive place. In London now we have the traditional clubs, the newer arrivals on the scene like Groucho and other Soho media based ones which are less formal and some exclusive restaurant clubs. It’s all part of the capital’s rich tapestry and I can remember a London not so long ago where there was only one decent bar at Jules in Jermyn Street and you had nothing like the eclectic choice today of restaurant but a few superior ones out of reach in terms of price. You had to be known there to get a reservation and decent table. It’s much more declassified now about in my opinion places like Harry’s Bar should continue to host a certain type of clientele.
My friend is a ardent retainer seeing exit as entering the abyss. Ollie called a family conference. I was amazed by the passion of our sons’ stay position so we are all voting that way . As for me, I have always been open to Europe!!!!