Magazine article The Spectator

Food in the Ritz

Magazine article The Spectator

Food in the Ritz

Article excerpt

The Ritz Hotel is a cake on Piccadilly made of stone; inside this cake, Lady Thatcher died.

Some think it is tragic that she died here in the cake of stone;

I do not.

I t has I talian men in tailcoats, a gifted pastry chef, and views of Green Park; she chose, I suspect, the ultimate free-market death.

I would have chosen the Connaught for my slightly more social-democratic death, but this is suitable for Lady Thatcher; it is for hot blonde chicks who love swagger and flounce, and imagine a country wrapped in chintz and whisky and power. Lady Thatcher was a girl first, a politician later; her closest twin is surely the novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford, who writes about ambition, betrayal and sex, and who, if she were a hotel, would be the Ritz Hotel.

I nside, it is fascinatingly pink.

I have always thought the Ritz is fascinating; it is so complete under its stern mansard roof, with the buses to Kensington racing past, that you wonder if it simply landed fully formed from outer space and may one day fly off again. The corridor has every pink, with gold and loitering palms, and there is a secretive pianist, and people just hanging about, looking happier than they do outside because the Ritz hotel is an imago, an idea of how you imagine yourself to be, and it is completely narcotic. Here I can only think of female Margaret, with her scents and her silks and her seething clouds of E lnett hairspray, who should have been a gay icon (but wasn't, due to Section 28), saying: 'Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you tonight in my green chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my hair softly waved . . . the I ron Lady of the western world? Me?' The Ritz appealed to her romanticism, obviously; in a way it almost looks like her.

The dining room is vast, pink, gold and very thickly carpeted; there are painted clouds and columns, and large round tables widely spaced, and curtains that cost more than diamond necklaces. …

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