Scott’s, Mount Street, Mayfair: the scene of the crime or, for those who do not read newspapers, the place where Charles Saatchi throttled his wife Nigella Lawson in the smoking section, and stuck his finger up her nose. (The Spectator food column, or News Kitten as her husband calls her, is rarely first with a story, but she gets there in the end). I suppose I want to know whether, if I throttle A, fellow diners will intervene or simply assume that domestic (or, rather restaurant) violence does not take place in Mayfair, and I am sticking my finger up A’s nose through love, consideration and sexual desire; rather than, as is more probable, jealousy, stupidity and ennui.
I have met Charles Saatchi; he once summoned me to his hideous gallery in Chelsea to discuss his writing and because he is very rich, and I was then unmarried, I went. (How was his writing, you may ask? It could be worse.) He is considered ‘mysterious’ and ‘intelligent’ because he does not talk to the Daily Mail, or even swear at them. In fact he is rather stupid; like many successful men, he can do one thing well. He told me to lose weight — I think he summoned me to tell me this — by living on boiled eggs. Perhaps he is a sort of boiled-egg–diet rep? (Lots of ex-fat people hate fat people because we are happy; and we are not hungry.) He said the boiled egg diet worked for him, although I do not think it made him happy; is he still hungry? Happy men do not invade women’s noses with fingers, unless they have hidden something there and want it back. Otherwise it is the act of a stupid madman or a nose fetishist. Then he told me he put talc on his balls in an airport, and it fell out of his trousers and the police thought it was cocaine. (He needed the talc because he was so fat he chafed.) I had to promise not to put this in a newspaper diary. Oh well.
Scott’s is owned by Richard Caring. I have been rude about Caring restaurants in the past: J Sheekey is too cramped, 34 is called 34, Le Caprice looks like Joan Collins’s head. Scott’s, however, is so lovely that I hope my one-sided feud with the orange restaurateur can be brought to a conclusion. I was annoyed, when booking online, to be asked for my credit card details (no-shows are charged £25 a head); but perhaps this is only testimony to the rudeness of the customers? Inside, on Sunday evening, the room is low, square, dim and softly carpeted. It is like its customers. There is a photograph of a diamond on the wall.
We are invited to wait at the bar; instantly, I see Roger Moore, leaving in a small, very dignified procession. I am reminded of a slowly cruising, benevolent Bentley Continental; A points out that this is because our satnav is programmed with Roger Moore’s voice. Later, when reading the Daily Mail, I will learn Moore has been at Michael Winner’s memorial service, which adds to the sense of dining in BBC Television Centre 1973 and Monaco at the same time. I am also (fairly) certain that the actress Lesley Joseph, who played Dorian in Birds of a Feather, is in a booth, as overdressed as only an actress can be. She is dressed, in fact, as a dress; and like many Jewish women, she can prowl while sitting down.
We sit next to a party from Essex, who are eating honeycomb ice cream with intense seriousness. The food is excellent baby food; what else could it be? We have crab and asparagus salad, roast chicken and mashed potato, a veal chop and chips; the pudding — strawberry meringue — is superb. So here the plot to destroy the British aesthetic was concluded by a man so wretched he powders his balls. The apocalypse is here.
20 Mount Street, London W1K 2HE, tel: 020 7495 7309.