HARRY'S BARRED. NEARLY
Friday went to Harry's Bar on South Audley Street (click) for lunch with Zenith and some key watch luminaries. (Note, Harry's Bar is a Birley club). Baroness Mingay had summoned the top flight, plus. The journo-players in watch world are a much akin to a version of Vile Bodies. The names and personas appear already in place. Not sure what to do with this thought. Anyway, arrived simultaneously with my most eminent and chic editor bar none, none other than Gillian de Bono, FT How To Spend It. (NB. Non-watch world resident). Was sharing banter as entered alongside a quartet of ancient members, whom desired swift passage into their vaunted sanctum.
I was an obstacle to this, as had immediately come adrift of dress code, not stipulated on invite. Polo neck under Thom Sweeney tobacco brown three piece and camel DB Moschino overcoat was not on the menu. Harry's people were having none of the knitwear course, and began rustling up make-shift shirt and tie combo. Do so hate those. Dress code states "Gentleman are required to wear a dark suit and a tie". No mention of shirt. Invite mentioned nothing. It was getting too, too inelegant for comfort. The Upper-Social X-rays shuffled past, duly indignant.
The main fella implementing the rules was wearing a collar pin from Interno (formally Interno Otto), and looked great, but I was destined for a random shirt and tie kept for just such occasions. It looked limply pitiful on its wooden hanger, and quite, quite yellowed. I claimed I was a sartorial fundamentalist, to little avail. De Bono pointed out that it was indeed a members club, who all pay handsomely to have these rules enforced. I swiftly shut up. Thankfully, the Harry's crew softened with the intervention of The Baroness (NB. Her fault entirely for absence of stipulation). It was agreed that if I walked through with collar turned up on overcoat, hiding my no-polo-ionic shame, I could sneak to the back-room without a arousing minor member uprising . Oh the relief.
(Note in real time:Just arrived at a destination and am required to to stop with the memory writing for a moment. Simply too, too inconvenient this work caper. Please excuse and find pictorial interlude)
('Work' finished, writing resumes).
The food in this place is certainly excellent. Full on old fashioned Italian. Simple pasta, cheeses and sauce, then perfectly cooked sea bream (with oil so good would turn a Gingsters pasty haute). Alongside flowed addictively constructed wine scene. It's brilliant and so is the service. There's loads of them at it. The male waiters are either in cream tux jackets or white sort of nehru-esque numbers that do up to the very top. The women are less fortunate, and are turned out like 'Mama' as it were, in very flat shoes, and pale blue, nurse-like ensembles. This is to amplify the 'home comfort' vibe. The interior, food and service contrive to deliver atmosphere that feels decades and miles removed from Mayfair 2011. The attending watch journo/Vile Bodies cast led ones imagination away further. As Simon De Burton arrived a trifle late, and in tandem with the fragrant and buxom Lady Maria Doulton, one could only wonder how the last throws of Salon QP had ended up on the previous evening.
(Note. I've just arrived somewhere else again in a car, again, and have to close the laptop. Curse this weekend work schedule...Sincere apologies, this must be quite the worst read for a Saturday/Sunday..)
Right, OK, its Monday and am more than over this post. Awfully sorry about being a bore. Harry's is a lovely old fashioned Italian restaurant, a members club and has a dress code, while watch journalism is populated by varied and eccentric people who get spoilt rotten, and am occasionally involved in this. That's it. Should have been more succinct. Will try harder.