The killing of Kettner’s
Something awful has happened in the heart of London’s restaurant world; the kind of thing which makes me want stick pins in dolls and think filthy evil thoughts about people I’ve never met. Somewhere, someone who thinks they are very clever indeed has had what they thought was a brilliant idea and, in executing it, has destroyed a London landmark. That landmark is Kettner’s on Romilly Street in Soho.
Kettner’s is one of London’s oldest restaurants. It was opened in 1876 by Auguste Kettner, chef to buy canada goose jacket online canada Napoleon best ideas about canada goose outlet on pinterest III and was, in its time, frequented by many of the great and the good, including Oscar Wilde and Edward VII, who used to meet his mistress Lillie Langtry there (mind you that’s not much of a claim to fame; Teddy and Lillie reputedly did each other in restaurants all over the West End).Anyway, though it had grand beginnings, for much of the last few decades it has been something else. Sure, it had chandeliers and thick carpets and a pianist. There was a champagne bar, and linen on the tables and a bunch of private rooms. It felt like a grown-up grand best fake canada goose jacket restaurant. The thing is, it was actually just a pizzeria. At various times it was owned by Pizza Express, then held by the Pizza Express founder Peter Boizot, before going back to Pizza Express. At various times the pizzas were a little better than the standard Pizza Express offering, buy canada goose jacket edmonton but the fact remained that they were still pizzas. The result? A grand, grown up restaurant, which you could eat in for £40 for two. It was the ultimate young couple’s date restaurant.
In the years after graduation, when I was impoverished, I used to go there a lot with my wife-to-be, loving the fact that you could feel special on the cheap. Once, having been lucky enough to come into some cash courtesy of an award that I had won, I took 20 of my equally impoverished mates there for dinner to spread the love. Kettner’s was the only place in London where such a gesture was possible. I came to regard the place as practically a social service.
So, what’s happened? After a closure for renovation the restaurant has reopened. The thick carpets have gone to be replaced by some hard edged design by Ilse Crawford involving chairs that look like they came from a garden centre. And the pizzas are out too. can you wash a canada goose jacket in the washer Now it’s a modern bloody brasserie. Like we need one of those. Think ‘peasant salad with duck’ at £8 a plate (wealthy peasants). Think foie gras and fig chutney for £11. There’s roast chicken for £15 can you machine wash canada goose jacket with truffled macaroni. There are diver scallops with champagne risotto at £20, pan roasted black cod, with a leek and shrimp cake for £18 and lobster shepherd’s pie at £23. It is the kind of lacklustre menu available at restaurants all over London.
The Gondola Group, owners of Pizza Express (a chain I admire) still own this place, but are now wading in can you wash a canada goose parka deep waters, attempting to run such a venture in the teeth of can you wash a canada goose coat a recession. can i wash my canada goose coat It is a truly gargantuan space, which can surely only make a profit courtesy of high turnover, which they are not now going to get. While everyone else is talking mid range and credit crunch, they have decided that the future lies with fancy pants froufrou food and big bills.
It is an black canada goose parka extraordinarily stupid idea, an act bordering on vandalism, and one which I am click cg certain is going to cost them an awful lot of money. The wonderful old Kettner’s is dead. Rest in peace dear thing.
So that’s who I’m mourning today. But what about you? Which restaurants and cafes have you loved over the years but which, through corporate stupidity or just lack of business, have gone to the wall or been transformed out of all recognition? Let’s take a walk down memory lane.