Tanya Gold Tanya Gold

Venice all tarted up

It occupies a boring spot in the characterless St James’s Market development. Decent food though

Veneta is a Venetian restaurant inside the St James’s Market development south of Piccadilly Circus. I do not like this development because it has no identity and great cities should have identities. It is not like St James’s, and it is nothing like a market either. It is a cold and glassy spot with a stupid name, and it is, with other developments from here to Hyde Park Corner, the reason that people now hate London or do not recognise it as London, because it is beginning to resemble a giant Nespresso capsule. Someone once told me that in a million years the only evidence of our civilisation will be nappies and Nespresso capsules and I think this may be true, and future alien visitors will think we invented caffeine and babies and then blew ourselves up by mistake.

St James’s Market is, therefore, an excellent place for an expensive restaurant selling the cuisine of a dead city to a dying one, because it has no identity.

The building is stone and high, with a vast curve of window; it looks slightly like the mask of Iron Man, the most irritating of the Avengers because he describes himself as ‘a billionaire philanthropist’, and what gentleman would say that about himself? Or it looks like a building that is wearing sunglasses, while nodding at the other vast restaurant in St James’s Market, which is the Aquavit.

Inside, Veneta is rather beautiful. It is high and bright, with wood floors and things — I think decorators call them ‘accents’ — which are supposed to invoke the sea. The sea does get lost in Venice, even if it is the point of it. There is aquamarine-coloured glass and leather, a curling metal staircase and a gold-coloured bar.

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