Restaurant Spy; We Were Convinced the Man on the Next Table at L'ANIMA Was Max Mosley

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 20, 2009 | Go to article overview

Restaurant Spy; We Were Convinced the Man on the Next Table at L'ANIMA Was Max Mosley


Byline: MARK BOLLAND

I love nostalgia. I love the way it has the power to make what's intrinsically worthless seem valuable. That big old sweater you can't bear to bin; music you haven't played any time in the last ten years but it would be a crime against the heart to throw away. The good news is that nostalgia is officially making a comeback. A hard winter and hard times mean we've gone running for the tried and tested. The only peculiar thing is that it's the Eighties that is the decade currently exciting the national imagination. Apparently, next season women will be wearing shoulder pads; triangular silhouettes paying homage to the stars of Dallas and Dynasty. And Michael Jackson is on tour in the summer.

Nowhere encapsulates the heady glamour of the Eighties as much as the City, where excess started in the Eighties, celebrated with copious amounts of fizz and world-class food. Pay packets may have taken a nose-dive but people still have to eat, and as it's been a while since I visited the capital's money-making centre for supper, I took Guy for dinner at L'Anima.

The restaurant is new but the City hasn't changed a bit. It still looks freshly minted.

Endlessly tall, grey buildings make you feel as if you're starring in a futuristic blockbuster.

We turned the corner into Primrose Street and I reflected that whoever came up with the local place names must have had a warped sense of humour, since there isn't a bit of green in sight.

L'Anima (which means 'the soul', a very un- Eighties word indeed) is fronted entirely by glass and blends in well with its man-made surroundings. Outside, bare trees are decked with teeny blue lights, but the view over an electricity sub-station, although topical in these energy-aware times, is perhaps a little unfortunate, and this restaurant has especially cheap signage (proving again not all things French are stylish). Inside, there's an abundance of stone: great slabs of granite lining the walls and pale marble underfoot. It is an austere room. Snowy white linen clothes the tables and on each sits a white glass vase crammed full with overblown scarlet roses. The look is medieval and rather beautiful. .

The service was outstanding. Bread was brought immediately to the table, accompanied by an olive oil that was gutsy, peppery and excellent (I've become a bit of an oil aficionado since spending so much time in Italy). …

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