‘Vital but fraying’: Five Guys reviewed

Five Guys is a burger house from Arlington, Virginia, based on the premise that if you can serve a drink, cut a fringe, or make a hamburger, you will always make money in America. Thirty years and 1,700 restaurants later, it sits on Coventry Street off Piccadilly, soaking up the alcohol of a thousand British stomachs. If central London is a strip-lit bin alley between palaces, this is its restaurant: vital but fraying. I am here because I will not eat at McDonald’s, even when I am sad. I do not think my McDonald’s burger is all from the same cow, and this disturbs me: I can eat one cow happily,

‘Five stars, no notes’: Arlington reviewed

Arlington is named for the 1st Earl of Arlington and his street behind the Ritz Hotel. It used to be Le Caprice, which was opened in 1947 by the Italian Mario Gellati, who would not, by the new rules, get into Britain now, but this is not a column about pain. In 1981 Le Caprice was taken over by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, and it became the most fashionable restaurant in London. Princess Diana dined here and when Jeffrey Archer was released from prison, he ate here. None ofthese dishes could be improved. Five stars, no notes After an interregnum from Richard Caring, under which Le Caprice closed in 2020

‘Can’t help but exude warmth’: Paper Moon at the OWO, reviewed

Paper Moon is the Italian restaurant inside the Old War Office on Whitehall, now a hotel called Raffles London at the OWO. It has nine restaurants and bars, because it is a Disneyland for the 1 per cent in the fraying centre of the British state, which is enraging and hilarious. I reviewed Saison in November and found it as chilly and finessed as the British state pre-crisis. OWO reminds me of a theme park I visited in Georgia, Russia, two decades ago in winter. It was a fine endeavour but pointless, the happy children had fled. You can’t have a grand hotel inside a post-Imperial bin fire. It makes

‘The interiors are happily insane’: Dear Jackie, reviewed

Dear Jackie is the restaurant in the new hotel Broadwick Soho on Broadwick Street in Soho, which is most famous, if you are an infectious diseases nerd, for being the site of the 1854 cholera outbreak and its cure. Dr John Snow isolated it to the street’s water pump, noted local brewers were immune, and proved cholera is not airborne. When children stopped dying, Soho eased into its time of moral rot. This is as spirited an attempt to re­animate the 1970s as I have found beyond musical theatre This is a changeable thing. Drama fled Soho in the 1970s, and Broadwick Soho is an attempt to put it back.

‘As good as you will find in London’: Noble Rot Mayfair, reviewed

Noble Rot, which is named for a sickness that afflicts grapes, a self-aware name for a restaurant in London, is becoming a chain. Don’t get me wrong. The Rots in Lamb’s Conduit Street and Greek Street (which replaced the Gay Hussar that died in sympathy with the intelligent left) are two of the best restaurants we have. My only complaint is that, like the Plastics in Mean Girls, they know how lovely they are and have their own promotional magazine. This food has a loving intensity to it, and it is as good as you will find in London Now they have expanded into Mayfair – but the least horrifying part,

When did Frankie Boyle become so boring?

In the never-ending debate about left-wing bias in BBC comedy, a more crucial issue tends to be overlooked. Namely, that the deeper problem with much of the material is that it is predictable, boring and geared towards applause rather than laughs. That most of it is also marinated in what passes for left-wing politics today, replete with all the usual talking points and lame anti-Toryism, is almost a second-order issue. Expressing a high-status opinion now takes precedence over actually landing a punchline. So much so that I’m not convinced your average anti-Tory genuinely finds this stuff funny either. Frankie Boyle’s New World Order on BBC Two is an interesting case in