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Dining in London

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#1 Rail Paul

Rail Paul

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:00 PM

Bloomberg news has a report by Richard Vines of the return to dining by investment bankers. Their big spending ways are making a big difference in many restaurants.

"No recession here in Belgravia" and "if a few tables order the Petrus" signal that the dark days of tightened belts may be in the past for the fortunate few

Marcus Wareing (Marcus Wareing): “How’s business? You’re joking aren’t you? It’s mad. I’ve had a fabulous year. I haven’t seen a dip in numbers. It has been consistent. Demand is great and the waiting list is longer. There’s a good vibe.”

Jun Tanaka (Pearl): “It’s a lot busier than we thought it would be, but we’ll really know in the first quarter 2010 if business has returned. This has been the hardest year since I became a chef, and that was 18 years ago. Our sales of top-end wines have been good in the past few months. I don’t know if it’s a trend or a hiccup.”

Michel Roux Jr. (Le Gavroche): “Business is good. We’re full every lunch all the way through to January and very few slots are available in the evening. There are thrifty people about, but also people who don’t shy from spending hundreds of pounds on wine. The bankers have never really gone away. Maybe they’re less conspicuous in spending but they’re back in spending mode. Like-for-like, we’re 6 percent down but that can change. I only need a couple of tables to go silly on Petrus and I’m back on budget.”

Gordon Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay): “There’s an increasing air of confidence, which has been particularly apparent since the beginning of September. We’ve noticed an improvement across all private dining and chef’s tables, the areas of business that were most affected by the downturn. Bookings for the rest of the year are extremely strong across the board and we’re looking forward to a Christmas of robust trading.”

Gary Rhodes (Rhodes Twenty Four, Rhodes W1): “We’ve seen a small movement of the bankers being more tempted to come out for lunch. Dinner is no problem: We’re full. We were doing 80 to 90 covers for lunch, and suddenly it was down to 40-50. We’re doing more wines by the glass, which has helped tremendously. People were sticking with water and orange juice.”

Peter Prescott (Boundary, Lutyens): “Next week is looking like the strongest we’ve ever had. On wine, we’re not getting the big 1,000 pound-plus bottles sold to small tables but larger tables are buying 100 pound to 150 pound bottles. The bankers are around but they’re drinking water. The policy of only water at lunchtime has spread across the city. We can do 120 or 130 for lunch but only a few are having bottles of wine.”

David Moore (Pied a Terre, L’Autre Pied): “We’re having our best month of the year. It’s back to pre-meltdown. We have more bums on seats and the spending is returning. People are looking at the nicer end of the wine list. The bankers are back, not in the same numbers and more quietly and discreetly than before. They’re taking out their prime customers. If you’re No. 2 in a company, they’re not going to invite you.”

Michelle McGuire (Palm): “Three weeks ago, Palm had its busiest week since opening in May, with record takings. Weekends are well up in both revenue and customer numbers, which indicates that personal spending is on the rise, too. There doesn’t seem to be a recession in Belgravia.”

Dreams come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

#2 g.johnson


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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:13 PM

Roux may claim that there are very few slots at Le G in the evening but we managed 7:30 on a Saturday night without any problem.
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson