London has been quite cool and showery so far this May. It is easy to want
to tuck into a warm and inviting restaurant during shopping or museum
visiting. After seeing Matisse, His Art and His Textiles at
Academy of Arts, we decided to continue our debate on why Matisse
become more of an art auctions hit at Cecconi’s in Burlington
the Academy. Cecconi’s was the hottest spot in London back in the seventies
and eighties, a celebrity watering hole that has mellowed into a dependable
and elegant destination place for food and ambience. All the pasta dishes are
good, as well as the fish. Starters are superb, and this is one of the few
Italian restaurants at which I would recommend the vegetable soup. Fresh
peas dominate a pure and simple broth. A glass of Prosecco, some Dover sole
or turbot, and you have a winning lunch.
We love the Greenhouse in Hay's
Mews and await its second Michelin star.
enters the glass and wood modern building through a refreshing stone Zen
garden. The charming international staff takes great care in explaining the
haute Italian cuisine, which includes a "Cuisine Classique" menu
with items such as rabbit. But if you are looking for light and contemporary
Italian cooking, this is the place. The wine list is impressive.
I adored Gordon Ramsey at Claridge's if for no other reason
than seeing Paul
and Heather McCartney in the room enjoying the most modern of modern British
chefs' inventive light food. Paul got right into it--he doffed his jacket
and showed us his bright blue shirt. I know I had something fabulous to eat
but I can't for the life of me remember what any more. Some restaurant
critic I would be! Seeing Paul was the biggest thrill of all.
Pat loves Floris shampoo, so we took a walk to Jermyn Street
between rain showers
to replenish. I was fascinated by the goose down powder puffs, and rarely
see them any more. Along with Floris' boxed body powder, it makes a perfect
present for any woman.
A trip to London is not complete without a stop to Vivienne Westwood's
Street boutique, where I stocked up on her highly coveted
summer T shirts and
sweaters, one or two recalling her "Too Fast to Live, Too Young To Die"
Finally, Le Gavroche is a conservative restaurant for the
working and idle
rich, with a luxurious ambience and French food at the haute level. I doubt
this is a Paul McCartney kind of place, but I have seen men propose to women
as they sat sipping champagne in the lush velvet banquettes. Maybe the
Tories come here, but after the British elections, which were held the same
week I was there, I still can't quite figure what is going on. It seems
though Tony Blair was re-elected for an historic third term, he is nationally
despised. In a Christine world, Tony would be the President of the United
States, and George Bush would go back to owning a piece of the Texas
Rangers. England under Tony Blair has been doing amazing. It is one of the
most expensive places on earth, but one of the very few where you can
literally fall into major museum exhibitions or see Meryl Streep (next
month) on stage. Even if you go for only a few days, I encourage you to do
it right-- London will not disappoint you.