Tanya Gold Tanya Gold

Food: I have been here before

34 is the new restaurant from Richard Caring, the ‘Lex Luthor of Mayfair’, who owns The Ivy, Le Caprice and Annabel’s. In my research, which I undertake before every review — clams tend not to have a back-story — Caring emerges as a character from a Sidney Sheldon novel, or perhaps Lace: ‘Which of you bitches has my entrée?’ He is unpopular with the WASP establishment because A) he is Jewish and B) he is orange. And so the myths, fuelled by Tatler, float. He survived the 2004 tsunami by sheltering behind an atoll. He has a nuclear silo under the J Sheekey Oyster Bar, which is pointed at Pizza Express. His face is made of diamonds. Etcetera.

Perhaps Caring’s feuding, which is principally with Robin Birley, who would own Annabel’s had his father not sold it to Caring for £90 million, is exhausting him, because his brain fell out and he called this restaurant 34, after its street number. It is a terrible number, although perhaps not as bad as 35. Birley, who is Superman to Caring’s Lex, has also landed from Planet Judith Krantz. He fell out with sister India Jane when he paid a private investigator to spy on her boyfriend and, although the events are apparently unrelated, he has also been mauled by a tiger. So the feud, which has something to do with Caring forbidding Birley to use his own name, has done something to Caring. But I am not sure what. When I have time to visit his underwater city off Sardinia, which is guarded by munchkins riding unicorns, I will ask him.

That is my society reporting done. What is 34 like? It sits on an ironed street off Grosvenor Square. London is very extreme these days; streets are either strangely polished, as if spat out of Richard Curtis’s fantasies, or they are full of pound shops and rioters wearing knitwear.

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