For many years we have been having the Danida lunch – Davina, Nicola and Daffers at the Guinea Grill . Nic, an interior designer who has gone into refurbishing houses in the Fulham area, is maddeningly well preserved. Years running her own ad agency and the consequent liquid lunching that goes with it has left Davina more jowelly, but she’s a hoot. In the bar she regaled us with a meeting with Richard Desmond and the coarseness of her language would not have been out of place on a builder’s site!!!
I like the Guinea because I like traditional restaurants and traditional food. Sadly one of the features of dining there is no longer: Farid the sommelier -the best one in London – has retired. With his unctuous Levantine air and well-waxed moustachios, he is a cross between Hercule Poirot and the wagon lits Maitre on the Orent Express, but he knew his wines which he selected for us with much aplomb. Nor did we see Dee, who looked like she came out of Rank central casting with her faded fifties idol beauty. The menu has hardly changed and most plump for steak. Mindful that the Daffers waistline was straining into her Max Mara cheeky little outfit, I sensibly started with asparagus and had duck for mains. Both were competent, rather than the mind blowing which you might have expected at Guinea prices, which are fairly steep.
The restaurant is small and tucked behind the pub. Happily for us, the table next to us was empty as by the third bottle of wine, an exquisite Volnay, the girlie talk was getting as basic as Dav’s presentation to Richard Desmond!! The restaurant area is tight and, whilst I prefer more space, the compacted tables generate an intimate atmosphere. It set me up nicely for the horrors of family Xmas with Ollie, Humph and Tarquin.