Tanya Gold Tanya Gold

Garden variety

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

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.

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