Tanya Gold Tanya Gold

Rich desserts

This Mayfair branch of a fashionable Paris café is like Ponti’s, except about ten times more expensive

Ferdi is a café in Shepherd Market; I write about it only to comfort you, because you are not rich, and so you cannot afford to go there, because you would have to pay £140 for two courses without wine. It probably thinks it is a restaurant, wants to be a restaurant, but it isn’t. Its defining characteristic is claustrophobia, and even bad restaurants allow the critic to breathe as they polish their spite.

It is a copy, or satellite, of a fashionable café in Paris. The Parisian Ferdi is popular with fashion models and ‘Kim and Kanye’ (Kardashian and West), which is always a terrible sign.

Shepherd Market, in Mayfair, is a district that is losing its charm faster than Paul Nuttall. The Curzon cinema is currently held hostage by the developers 38 Curzon Ltd, who converted the offices above the cinema into flats but now insist their buyers cannot bear the noise of cinema, even as they knew, presumably, that they were developing a space above a cinema; perhaps they forgot it is a cinema? Elsewhere, there are skincare and designer pants shops for people with great skin and great pants and rotten souls; the prostitute memorial restaurant Kitty Fisher’s winks redly, with the promise of oxymoronic — that is, safe — depravity; and now there is Ferdi.

It is a tiny slender room, in browns and reds, like a broken train carriage; the tables are so close together the diner must move furniture to sit down, which is absurd; the décor scheme is an arrangement of cuddly toys on a shelf, and a photograph of a baby covered in food. Infantilism ‘chic’ is a genuine phenomenon — visit the fascinating and oppressive Cereal Killer Cafes in Brick Lane, Camden, and now Birmingham, where you can lie in a child’s bed and eat Coco Pops, and imagine you are Charlie Brooker aged nine, and all sanctioned by consumer capitalism — but this is pathetic.

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