Wednesday 6 October 2010

R.D.Blumenfeld on where to eat

Friday, October 3rd, 1890

I do not find many places to dine. There is the Cafe Royal, in Regent Street, a first-class restaurant much frequented by French refugees ; Verrey's, a bit more sedate; Scott's, at the top of the Haymarket ; the St. James', given over to the jeunesse doree; and Simpson's, in the Strand. You cannot get a meal anywhere after ten o'clock  at night, except at old Dolaro's supper club, in Percy Street, off the Tottenham Court Road, where the prices are high and no change is given. Selina Dolaro, his wife, who used to be a comic opera singer, is the chief barkeeper. You can also get a fair meal at the Continental Hotel, at the foot of Regent Street, but it isn't a very ideal place. If an average Londoner has a visiting friend, he either takes him to his house for lunch or dinner, or to his club. The clubs are usually crowded at seven, the dinner hour, during the season. Just now they are deserted, for 90 per cent of the members are on the moors in the North, shooting grouse and partridges. It is good to be in London again. I love to sit on the top of an omnibus watching the vista of black silk hats, like dark poppy fields. You can no more separate a Londoner from his top hat and his shiny black brief bag, which every self- respecting Briton carries to and from his office, than you can separate the Ethiopian from his skin. Had lunch at Groom's, in Fleet Street to-day, with Mr. Cock, Q.C., a famous lawyer. Groom's is a funny narrow little shop frequented mostly by lawyers from the adjoining Temple. You get an excellent chop for a very small sum. 

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