Magazine article The Spectator

Food the Colbert Report

Magazine article The Spectator

Food the Colbert Report

Article excerpt

A creation myth:

E arl Cadogan wandered into Oriel, the ancient Sloane Square brasserie on his land, like a lardy dachshund, if slightly more cadaverous.

F or 25 years Oriel served as a second home for the Chelsea hags and, worse, the brats, who still wear strange coloured cords, work in estate agency or PR, and are called, even now, Caroline; and it was pretty bad, stuffed with idiocy and yapping. ( I would say that Chelsea deserves no better, and should be nuked with pies, but that is not my job. ) Cadogan, who has taste, hated it, and so, with the neat malice of a guardsman, he decapitated it. He gave it to Chris Corbyn and Jeremy King, who own three of London's prettiest restaurants - the Wolseley, the Delaunay and Brasserie Zedel. They promised to take care of the baby ( I mean the restaurant) and Cadogan stomped off satisfied, to obliterate other warts upon his land. (He also decapitated WH Smith. ) They named it Colbert.

Which makes me wonder if whatever ruined Oriel, a cafe that seemed exhausted, like the ghost of P. Diana, or a sloaney pile of loafer dust, has cursed the spot; there is, despite the talents of Corbyn and King, something not quite right with Colbert, and I I I I I t would be a shame if I F cannot put it down to Chelsea, a parish that has long lost its soul to Maleficent, or, as they call it round here, Marks & Spencer.

As an outsider from north London, can say we are actually in Victoria but who would listen?

do not mean to state that Colbert's rooms are not bright like mirrors, that its woodwork does not gleam with satisfaction, that its table dressings are not silvery and fine.

t is simply that Colbert is more ordinary than the others, as if Corbyn and King have run out of innocence and love; it is, after the fairy pinkness of Zedel, a restaurant designed for F rances Hodgson Burnett heroines to dirty their mittens, and weep on their daddies, a prosaic slide to duh, perhaps to money. …

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