One restaurant that has stood the test of time is the River Cafe, Rainville Road Fulham.
It’s not in a particularly convenient nor accessible part of London and not at all cheap but it’s still there, you need to book and it’s always full.
It was launched by architect Richard Rogers and his wife Ruth and many a now famous chef had passed through its kitchen.
The food is always reliably good – if pricey – it’s buzzy and occupies a space by the Thames.
I was there last Sunday for a private birthday celebration. My host is both fastidious and generous. He received us in their garden in delightful autumnal colours where a champagne and wine stall had been set up.
Pizzas and fried Zucchini were proffered.
My readers know how fussy I am about greeting.
My host’s was warm and this set the tone for a convivial lunch in their private room.
The menu was antipasti, ravioli, beef or turbot and tiramisu. All were delicious.
My host’s three grown up children – two of whom had their partners – and the young son of my friend’s girlfriend meant that the party was inter-generational and fun.
It was one of the best parties I have attended and made the trying rail journey to and from worth it.
Last night I made my fourth visit to the Ivy Asia in Brighton.
The table was booked for 8-00 pm but not ready.
This is very unprofessional.
The restaurant was probably cramming in another early sitting. When a girlfriend of mine, a hairdresser conversant with the local restaurant scene, and I were sat, we were aghast that the couple on the adjoining table were having an unholy row.
It seemed that he had ordered a chilli dish for her to which she had taken exception.
There was much effing and swearing in loud voices.
I was on the point of complaining to them, or to the restaurant, when they left.
People-watching is part of the restaurant experience and seeing the set up for seduction entertaining but a couple rowing is embarrassing.
They were replaced by a young goddess-looking couple never off their mobile.
So I have noticed recently that standard of dress and conduct have dropped dramatically in restaurants.
Dress codes no longer exist as trainers and jeans are fashion statements.
I knew the founder of Wallis Shops – Jeffrey Wallis – who would get his inspiration from L’Escale in St Tropez.
Italian restaurants like Alvaro, Meridiana, San Frediano and the Tiberio flourished in the 80s but are long gone – as is Sun Lorenzo.
Such a shame as all these restaurants and the diners that went there had class.
Men would wear at least a jacket and I would wear my best dress.
Now – to judge from Ivy Asia – standards have really dropped.