X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Food

This time, lifestyle-seekers have it right: Margot restaurant reviewed

Great Queen Street will always be thrilling for a Spooks fan. It just got a little better

7 January 2017

9:00 AM

7 January 2017

9:00 AM

Margot is an Italian restaurant on Great Queen Street in the still interesting part of Covent Garden. The uninteresting part is the piazza, once the first classical square in London but now a shopping district so devoted to famous brands that it is essentially Westfield in WC2, and WC2 has no need of it, already having a superior culture of its own. Even so, I expect some day to find St Paul’s church a smouldering pile of ash waiting for an Audi concession. Margot used to be Moti Mahal, an unlamented Indian restaurant next to Freemasons’ Hall, which posed as MI5 in Spooks, a BBC drama in which a one-nation Tory called Harry repeatedly saves the city from apocalypse with his one-nation Tory goodness. (Those who call the BBC Marxist propagandists don’t watch Spooks, or any of the royal coverage.) I am so devoted to Spooks I cannot approach Margot without a thrilling sense of peril.

Margot is from Paulo de Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën. They look like men who look have walked off a David Beckham Emporio Armani pants advertising hoarding. They are very handsome if you like that sort of thing; that is, men with blinding white pants laughing at squid. They met at Scott’s in Mayfair, which serves baby food to ageing celebrities; they have also worked at Balthazar, again in Covent Garden, and the Wolseley. They are front-of-house men and their native habitat is beautiful restaurants. Margot, therefore, is beautiful in its pale Victorian box; it had to be. The staff are equally handsome. They wear tuxedos — and not ironically — and the website is essentially a photograph of two models in black tie sitting on a white motorcycle with the spindly promise of spindly model sex. There is also a photograph of a bellboy staring out a dachshund, but I cannot divine its subliminal message; I have tried. Perhaps the dachshund is Margot.

_dsc9615

Even so, I do not judge Margot for pretending its clients are more attractive than they are. Margot is not selling salami, not really; you can get salami at Lidl these days. It is selling that incalculable thing called lifestyle, and they will pay £100 a head with wine for the scent of it. I distrust lifestyle-seekers because I suspect they do not know what they want, and so must ask their gurus, which are advertising hoardings. At Margot, though, they triumph, for it is an excellent restaurant.

The interior is brown, it is true, but it is not a terrible brown. (The decorating company Fabled Studio, which designed Margot, also did Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner, which is too brown. The line between good brown and devastating brown is narrow.) Its brownness declares it is, essentially, a man’s restaurant: a mix of booths and banquettes with good art, good lighting and good service. There is a silver breadstick holder with a dachshund’s head on the table.

_img7491

The chef is Maurizio Morelli, formerly the chef-patron of Latium in Fitzrovia. Margot’s current rivals in London are Savini at the Criterion, a haunted grey restaurant, and Sartoria in Savile Row, which is just grey.

We eat a plate of pecorino di fossa and a fennel-flavoured salami, both as good as you will find in the city; then an exquisite Cornish crab salad; a couscous salad with pomegranate, buffalo mozzarella and tomato which is, miraculously, not wet but wondrous; a fine risotto of mixed mushroom; and — as tribute to The Godfather, who would never come here, because it features whimsical tableware, and he is a fictional character — some cannoli. (‘Leave the gun, take the cannoli.’) The portions are not vast; we are not stupefied or poisoned with carbohydrate, which is a danger in lesser Italian restaurants with their weaponised bread baskets; we leave content.

Margot, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA, tel: 020 3409 4777.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close