Magazine article The Spectator

The Mirabelle

Magazine article The Spectator

The Mirabelle

Article excerpt

HOW is the not smoking going? Fine, thanks. Marvellous, even. Except that I'm very depressed and cry a lot and hate everything and everybody and suffer from these incredibly strong urges to run over pedestrians (particularly elderly ones, on zebra crossings) and my brain has gone to mush and I have to be physically restrained most evenings from going out and renting yet another video with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in it and I'm eating too much and getting fat. Indeed, I've lately developed something of an obsessive interest in the new-look Vanessa Feltz, although I can't help wondering why no one has yet pointed out that she is still fat! Just the other day I was looking at a 49-page spread on her (and that was just the one photo) in Hello! when I remarked to my partner, `But she's still fat! Size 12? My elbow!' He said that I'm a very nasty person. And childish, too. However, I rather skilfully argued my corner by putting my fingers in my ears and going, very loudly: `La, la, la, la, la . . Not listening . . . La, la, la, la la. . . . '

Anyway, what has any of this to do with restaurants? Well, absolutely nothing, frankly. But, tell me, if I don't write about myself, who will? Martin Amis? Doris Lessing? Alexander Solzhenitsyn? As it happens, Mr Solzhenitsyn did once approach me with a view to writing `A Day in the Life of Deborah Ross', but when he realised it would go `Got up. Felt fat. Went back to bed,' he didn't think it was quite the thing to revive his career. Silly boy. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. Oh, all right then, I'll squeeze a restaurant in. I went to the Mirabelle, one of Marco Pierre White's places, and it was really, really nice. Now, where were we? Oh, yes. It's not that I'm fat as such, yet, it's just that I'm going that way....

The Mirabelle is on Curzon Street, in swanky Mayfair. You enter at pavement level and then go down, down, down to somewhere quite green and gloomy with jumbo leather sofas and the biggest silver-- twinkling disco ball I've ever seen in my life. Honestly,, should there ever be dancing here, you'd look pretty idiotic doing it round your handbag. You'd need the full Louis Vuitton luggage set.

My friend, Emma, is already in the bar waiting for me. Emma is irritatingly thin and beautiful, but has just fallen off the treadmill at her health club and has broken her finger, the poor thing (tee-hee). Emma recently started a frighteningly substantial job on the London Evening Standard's glossy ES magazine. I know she knows what she is doing just - but, still, I feel I ought to tell her that what Londoners really want to read about are top-class beach holidays in Mauritius. An irksome commission, I know, but, as we go back a Long way, I inform her I could probably undertake it. I could go tomorrow, even. `Hmm,' she says. She adds that she has spent the last two weeks test-driving an open-topped Mercedes. Cow! I hope all her tights sag at the knees from now on. Truly, I don't know when I started being so horrid and resentful. Well done, Vanessa Feltz! Only another four stone to go!

We have a drink in the bar, a glass of champagne each, then go into the diningroom. The tables are quite close together, which is something I like, because I can eavesdrop and anyone's conversation is usually better than mine. However, on this occasion, the youngish couple to our right seem to be in competition. `The thing is,' he says at one point, `it's all going to depend on the overall corporate strategy. …

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