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Friday, April 09, 2010

A most unusual luncheon venue

Don't often do media dining clubs but yesterday was invited to lunch at an old Georgian house in Greek Street. This has been put to charitable use throughout its history and most recently was some kind of women's shelter. It now houses, temporarily at least, Quintessentially Soho at the House of St Barnabas. You go in and it's got the usual features of a media club: receptionists in twos who tap your name into a laptop, a doorman who looks as if he's wandered in from Savile Row and enormous, slightly frightening paintings lining a very beautiful old staircase. Media types sit on low battered sofas pitching apps and discussing commissioning rounds while the next generation of Alexander McQueens dispense champagne and salmon. The decorations only go so far since the club is squatting in these premises. It reminded me of a scene in a World War II film where the officer finds his old club still functioning despite bomb damage. "Most of the regulars have been evacuated. We have spam fritters for luncheon. Your usual, sir?" When I went upstairs to the gents it was like wandering into the unused wing of a stately home. In a bare room off the landing sat a homeless man eating the remains of a takeaway. Odd.