Marianne, London

Pink Floyd started out as architecture students but gave it all up to play music, generally have a smashing time and make more money than as architects…probably even more than Lord Norman Foster. Incidentally Foster’s firm recently completed the new Bloomberg news HQ in London. As Michael Bloomberg said, when asked if it was a tense time, said “No, it was a meeting of a billionaire who wanted to be an architect, and an architect who wanted to be a billionaire.” We “got into Pink Floyd” in late 1969 and have been fans ever since. Future classical music, they’ll be playing it in 5oo years time. Possibly.

So it was with interest that we noticed Marianne, run by a former architecture student who gave it all up for generally having a smashing time and making more money than as an architect. Well, she must be at those prices. A very small and discrete restaurant in Notting Hill. A corner shop really, with a curtain across the inside of the door to keep the draughts [and the riff-raff we noticed] out. Six tables for two. Twelve covers. All occupied by young, heterosexual couples gazing into each other’s eyes and holding hands. We not us obvs, we were watching them and we’re too old and shortsighted even to gaze across the table. Squint across more like.

We had the tasting menu, served by a couple of very slender chaps in smart suits – you know the sort – jackets a bit too short and a popular shade of not quite dark blue. Very à la mode. If you imagine the inside of a small building, three-quarters of it was the restaurant for twelve tables [quite small] and the other one-quarter was the kitchen. I’ve seen bigger galleys on a dinghy. And all on display.

We had the deluxe menu x 2 [at £125 each – considerably more than on the website – not that we’re counting], two glasses of rather nice middle European wine [2016 Fumé Blanc ‘900’, Sevilen, Güney, Denizli, Turkey], 1 x wine flight and an extra glass of Recioto [2009 Recioto della Valpolicella Valpantena, Tezza, Veneto, Italy – pud wine]. £424.13 inc service. For two. Good job we walked from the hotel, the extra taxi fare could have broken the bank. Still it was very, very good. Perhaps the only problem is that excellent food isn’t quite enough – at this level you need a bit of something spectacular [Waterside Inn] or discrete super comfort and elegance [Royal Hospital Road]. Not quite sure what the answer is, as you wouldn’t want to spoil that intimate feeling. It did rather feel like she was cooking just for us.

Restaurant Marianne

We stayed at the Portobello Hotel, part of small eclectic chain – their hotels are rather dissimilar – and it was excellent. Probably our choice of a place to stay next time we’re down [or is it up?] to London.

All the dishes are, of course, exquisitely beautiful

…we’ve got one of those mixers


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