20 December 2006
Once again the Guardian’s Zoe Williams displays an eerie ability to write a column coinciding with my own preoccupations. She says the British are still burdened with class timidity in restaurants, failing to complain when they should. For once, I agree, though I hate complaining myself. However, last night I was at the Mirabelle in Mayfair. This used to be a serene and elegant joint where one went to be plied with Marco Pierre White’s finest comestibles by waiters who yearned to lay down their lives for their customers. But it is years since I have been there and, in the interim, the secretive hedge fund industry has colonised the environs of Berkeley Square. The Mirabelle has become the factory canteen. The place was rotten with braying hedgers, toasting each other and generally revelling in their easy and pointless wealth, plundered from the meta-markets of the world. The marble steps down to the bar were littered with stubbed cigarettes. By the door a hedger was sitting on the floor, smoking and barking into his mobile. I was at once spotted by the now cold and haughty waiters as not one of them. The service was, as a result, appalling. A Mayfair institution has been destroyed by fast money. I’m all for the wealth these rootless, philistine hedgers bring to London But, last night, I realised I don’t want to meet them, see them or hear them and, to be honest, I took a wicked delight in noting that they all seemed to smoke so heavily and some, though young, were remarkably fat. But no, Zoe, I didn’t complain, I did something much better. I wrote this post.