Yesterday I went to London for the day to have lunch at a venue (Oswalds, Albermarle St) I did not know – and dinner at one I did.
Oswald was the name of the grandfather of Robin Birley, the son of Mark who founded Annabel’s, and sold it to Richard Caring . This is the latest creation of his son Robin.
It’s a restaurant club and quite glitzy.
The sort of place where the waiters still wear white jackets. The service was fastidious.
I was still suffering from a minor gastric upset and thought it best to order plain and light. So my first course was minestrone. A portion of summery vegetables was already in the bowl into which the rich broth was poured. It was the best minestrone I’ve ever tasted.
For mains I went for their speciality, Milanese risotto, a saffron-based pasta with cubes of meat in the middle. Again delicious.
The restaurant was a quarter full but on the next table was historian Andrew Roberts whose biography of Churchill I had read and enjoyed.
My host is an immensely successful businessman whom I have known now for over 50 years.
He told one story which tickled me. He was invited to the 200th celebration dinner of the Battle of Waterloo. His neighbour asked him what role his family played in the battle.
He relayed the remark later to a noted wit who, conscious of my friend’s love of food and business acumen, suggested the response “Catering”.
Like many a businessman my friend manages his time well and after an hour and half had to leave for his next appointment.
I had business to accomplish in the Bond St area so that suited me.
As I walked down Bond Street I was struck by the number of young women dressed in a high-waisted shorts, bare midriff and halter neck top.
You have to have a figure to wear this – and most did not – but my mind went back to hot pants when yours truly got many a glance for her shapely legs and firm butt!!!
Dinner to commemorate an old friend who passed was at the traditionally reliable Goring.
I was initially annoyed that the dining room was closed where I had booked for a private party.
However I was shown the terrace where we were re-housed and impressed.
Once again I had to choose carefully with a salad of heritage tomatoes as starter and chicken.
Afterwards I felt if I keep this up I can squeeze into those fashionable shorts!!!
I tend to order rich food – red meat, rather than fish or white meat, but I was comfortable not to feel stuffed as I made my way back to the South Coast on a late train.