Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is This London's Most Overrated Restaurant? the Cipriani in Mayfair Is Where the Beautiful People Now Go to Eat - but One Writer Cannot Understand Why

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is This London's Most Overrated Restaurant? the Cipriani in Mayfair Is Where the Beautiful People Now Go to Eat - but One Writer Cannot Understand Why

Article excerpt

Byline: TOBY YOUNG

I'm often a little nervous when visiting ultrafashionable restaurants, but Cipriani didn't disappoint. The whole evening was a complete fiasco. Had I been a regular punter, I would have left in a fury of indignation, but as a restaurant critic I was absolutely delighted. All I could think of, as I waited for a taxi at the kerb, was what fantastic material I'd been provided with.

This new restaurant on Davies Street in Mayfair is the latest addition to the Cipriani empire, a chain of upmarket Italians that encircles the globe like a Gucci belt. (It's the Pizza Express of the jet set.) I can't claim to have been to Harry's Bar in Venice, which first threw open its doors in 1931, but I've been to both the uptown and downtown Ciprianis in New York and gazed longingly at the beautiful people while teams of sharply dressed waiters have cleaned out my wallet.

In one respect, at least, the Cipriani family has got things right. With its marble floors and warm, buttery lighting, the restaurant manages to look glamorous and cosy at the same time.

Linen cafe curtains shield the well-heeled patrons from the faces of the have-nots pressed up against the window and a little porthole opposite the maitre d's station gives you the feeling that you're safely ensconced in some billionaire's yacht. On the night I was there, this impression was confirmed by the presence of Flavio Briatore, one of the restaurant's owners, at the bar.

Unfortunately, whatever sense my wife and I had of being guests at a fabulous party disappeared as soon as we made contact with the staff.

Since Cipriani opened just three months ago, two managers have parted company with the owners and, judging from the chaos in the front-ofhouse, they've yet to be replaced. After we'd been subjected to an endless cavalcade of incompetence, my wife and I decided that a better name for the restaurant would be Il Torre di Fawlty.

Our waiter - yes, a Manuel lookalike - began by bringing us two drinks we hadn't asked for, then, after we'd ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio, he scurried back with a bottle of Chianti. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.