The 2009 Smythson pocket diary, which has been out a week or so, includes a list of 50 London restaurants. A little glimpse, through Samantha Cameron's eyes, of places to eat - or perhaps to be seen to eat. Here it is, quoted in full:
Cafe, The, at Sotheby's [yup, that's how they list it]
Cheyne Walk Brasserie and Salon
Fifth Floor, Harvey Nichols
Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's
Inn The Park
L'Atelier de Joel Robucnon [sic]
Le Pont de La Tour
Les Trois Garçons
Neal Street Restaurant
Paternoster Chop House
Poissonerie de l'Avenue
Red Fort, The
I know, I know: Smythson don't claim to produce restaurant guides - despite issuing this rather beautiful thing. But even allowing for the inevitable W1 and SW1 bias (31/50, up to 37 if you include SW3), it's still a baffling list.
What's going on here? There are plenty of schleb-spotting places - J. Sheekey, Hakkasan, and of course The Ivy. But no Sketch? It's also disappointing not to see more recent high-profile openings, like L'Ambassade de l'Ile, or Murano, or L'Anima. Daphne's hasn't been a destination for twenty years - but somehow Richard Caring persuaded them to shoehorn it in there. I've heard some very negative things about The Cheyne Walk Brasserie and Salon, although I confess I haven't been. The Caviar House is just another midmarket chain these days, in an airport lounge near you. Fifth Floor at Harvey Nicks once served me raw pork, and I've rarely been more ill. Where's Locanda Locatelli? Pied à Terre? Do we really need both Nobus? And what the hell is the Paternoster Chop House doing there?