London Blast

A short visit to London with the objective of doing a recky on some pretty classy wine bars is not an unwelcome venture.

Alessandro and I travelled down on Friday and pitched up at Michael’s office just off Bond Street to be met by his most attractive assistant Andrea, who informed us that he was working but that she would take us first to some cafe’s.

This is an extremely trendy area where everyone looks eminently cool, sophisticated and basically loaded. Dairy products are fading fast and oatmilk and coconut milk are in by all accounts. Healthy eating is the name of the game here and if you’re not serving an avocado/spinach option on the breakfast menu then you’re going to be severely commercially challenged.

We eventually caught up with Michael and headed to Isabel Mayfair which is one of the swankiest joints in town, where you don’t want to look at the prices on the menu unless you fancy a wee cardiac. This place stinks of money and is the only establishment that I’ve been to where they have a smiling attendant to open a fantastically lit, granite laden toilette, smelling decidedly Yves Saint Laurent and really most opulent.

Mind you, when a glass of wine comes in at sixteen quid and a small plate of serrano ham hits you at twenty-eight you realize that the guy paying the rent bill is not dealing in minor sums.

Of course we rather lorded it. Michael is not the sort of guy to do things by halves and add to this a bit of Palermo panache and a nutter from Morningside then you have a rather brutal cocktail, if I may carry on using a metaphor in the fashion boisson.

Fortunately, Michael had to work next day so we didn’t go to excess. A pizza and a wee night cap in the bar of the Leonard Hotel climaxed a pretty fun evening where the three business partners had august, insightful thoughts on the Edinburgh bistrot venture, decided that life was pretty rum, or indeed 15 year old Glenlivet in Alessandro’s case.

Next morning we headed to Portobello Road where Mike sells his jewels and that sort of thing and we caught him looking rather worse for wear, went to a superb cafe called Gail’s where it’s all smiles, excellent gruyere, fresh bread and good coffee. To top it all and would you quite believe it? Temple of Heaven came in by a short head in the 4.20 at Newbury by slightly nudging out Well of Wisdom and so paid for the whole trip.

A complete winner.

I trust Leftbank will be like this. But not quite at these prices.

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