Magazine article The Spectator

Food Lord Sugar's Castle

Magazine article The Spectator

Food Lord Sugar's Castle

Article excerpt

Alan Sugar's Turkish restaurant, Sheesh, is in Chigwell, a land of soft lawns, hard money and fairies who count it. They come out when footballers beep their horns, so to speak.

I f it sounds disgusting, it isn't really - E ssex is simply Surrey with a makeover and thinner legs. Sheesh is a huge, white, half timbered Tudor expub, sitting, or rather screaming, in a photogenic lane begging for folk tales starring shouty TV lords.

I t is one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever seen, because I have no taste.

I t is fantastically fake, Camelot crashing into Monaco;

I suddenly imagine Sugar on a horse jousting with a broken Amstrad computer. Yander lies the kebab house of my fadda.

E tc.

You buzz to enter the car park - whether you can enter on legs I seriously doubt - and if you look rich enough to the white cats manning Sugar's gold-plated monitors ( I am guessing) they let you in. And it is lovely, a fairyland for all the monetised fairies and their fairy credit cards and fairy needs. There are meandering trees, lit with swaying lanterns, angry statues (warriors and lions and a giant cow, protecting you from over-regulation, maternity pay and tax increases) and a car park that is simply a posh-car trade show. You need a minimum of a Bentley not to look hopeless, and ideally a small spaceship with leather interiors and a bowl for condoms, and Roger Moore, to impress.

I t has an interesting back story, which should star Tony Curtis as Sugar and E lizabeth Taylor as Sheesh.

Lord Sugar rode to Sheesh in his Rolls Royce Phantom when it was a mere restaurant in Buckhurst Hill. He loved it so much that he bought Ye Olde King's Head, formerly a hostelry, and stuck his beloved Sheesh in it; if there is such a word, he castle-i-fied his local.

What would such a man do for his mother? Sugar is photographed on the Sheesh website, looking weird in sports casual wear, alongside Ray Winstone and Rod Stewart's girlfriend, who is dressed, inexplicably, as a leopard. …

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