Do not go to London without visiting Bellamy’s, by far our favorite restaurant (spectacular food and reasonable prices) and watering hole. To say nothing of its owner-host, the splendid Gavin Rankin, who sparkles with wit and genuine warmth. Herewith, his latest letter:
Injuries I sustained while skiing over New Year have reduced to mere unsightly swellings and I am no longer dragging the leg quite as much. Our part of Mayfair seems to be returning to normal. Restaurateurs stand about gleefully rubbing their hands in anticipation of evaporating New Year dietary resolutions (not that I am one you understand) and the return of the holiday emigrant. Doubtless the snazzy, lethally priced, shops in Mount Street are back to welcoming their daily quota of three customers and five shoplifters, and the occasional ray of sunshine makes us all dream of spring. The only jarring note is the gloomy prospect of school holidays with potentially empty tables and all the mistresses in mothballs for the duration. Mark Birley once told me, wistfully, that in the 1920’s the Times still used to carry advertisements for schools which guaranteed no holidays. An early example of a unique selling point.
Still we must not grumble. Bellamy’s is moving briskly along with plenty of new customers. I find myself tripping over masses of welcome young who have discovered that there is no synchronised dome lifting here. Also that there are plenty of reasonably priced options for them (and their parents) and by illustration I attach our new menu below. Oddly, hardly anyone drinks our new £ 19 house red and white wines. Neither of them is especially disgusting and budget minded youth might like to bear them in mind, particularly as I went to all the trouble of finding them. Also of sampling them over a sustained period on the grounds that I would not expect a customer to drink what I would not.
Ranting discussions about immigration seem to be all the rage at the moment. There is something, though, that people should understand. Few restaurants would last long without a continental influx of staff. The English seem to feel that waiting on tables, regarded as an honourable profession throughout the rest of Europe, is not for them. At one point we had twelve different nationalities here, all getting on famously in a sort of harmonious League of Nations. Tomasz, the Hungarian vegetable chef, once burst into my office desperate for me to know that my doppelgänger was standing at the Bar. “Qwick, qwick – your twister brother is upstairs” he gasped. “Oh Tomasz”, I replied pompously, “for God’s sake learn English”. “From whom?” came the magnificent and grammatically accurate response.
So there we are. A fresh menu with no sneaky price increases and the hope that we will see plenty of you all throughout the year. My next letter will have news about our new bar which we hope to launch in late February or early March.
With all best wishes
18/18A Bruton Place
London W1J 6LY
Tel : 020 7491 2727