Dark and Stormy good times – solo dining @THERUMKITCHEN, London

I’ve always been hip!

A bold statement I will admit but, since returning home, all the places I used to hang out or thought that looks interesting are now achingly hip. Obviously not because of moi but for instance, Kingly Court just off Carnaby Street, was quirky and a bit trendy in 2010 with a mixture of shops and a few restaurants but now it is full of restaurants and there are queues! You, loyal readers that you are or haven’t quite worked out how to unsubscribe from my newsletter, will know I despise queues. If there is a line out of the door with people holding menus, I just head elsewhere. Except, the night in question I had stumbled out of the bombastic, quake filled press screening of San Andreas and needed something to bring me back to reality. The Rum Kitchen had been in my sights for a long time: a nibble and drink were in order. View Post

It’s always cocktail hour somewhere! Solo cocktail @ The BFI, London

The thing I miss most about Paris are bridges. Oh I knew I was a Parisian in the city whizzing over bridges on the back of a motorbike (clichéd but true). Now I am back in London and rediscovering my brilliant, busy and anonymous hometown. The Southbank is glorious in the early Spring sunshine. Walking along it seeing the people performing shows. I still don’t understand people standing watching someone pretending to be an immobile statue that only moves for money although I will admit floating Yoda is cool. Anyway the BFI home of the British Film Institute and showing incredible films and it has a bar – a proper bar.  Film and cocktails  are some of my favourite things.

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Somebody forgot to buy the matches @ Candelaria, Paris

Hidden bars are popular in Paris: the Beef Club, Moonshiner etc and they are fun at first given the novelty factor of entering the restaurant like you own the place, walking to the unmarked door, pushing it open and entering the secret drinking den. I had wanted to go to Candelaria for a long time and finally went with a friend and decided that maybe I had judged it unfairly so promised to go back for a solo apéro – ha! View Post

They decided to stay on the ship @ Le Mary Celeste, Paris

Who doesn’t love a good story and a legend at that.

Most of us know the story of the Mary Celeste found on the ocean with no sign of the crew but with the table laid for dinner etc.  Were they abducted by aliens or worse? Although I am not sure there is worse than being abducted by aliens, oh wait, discovering that you the tax man is taking even more of your money than he did last year – yes you guessed it I finally did my tax declaration and I finally understand what socialism truly means! View Post

Solo apero @ L’hotel, Paris

When the Bullsh_t quota has been surpassed only a cocktail will do is my motto although I am sure Mr Oscar Wilde would say it in a much more succint and wry way. I do so love this quote of his: “we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars“. Well Oscar there are no stars this Wednesday night just rain, wind and a healthy dose of misery as I navigated through the streets of St Germain trying to find the discreet entrance to L’Hotel where our Oscar spent his last few years. Discreet it is with a small brass plaque of the man himself adorning the external wall.

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Le Lieu/Location

It’s all about discretion and luxury here. I was greeted with a warm smile and asked for directions to the bar. I was told to walk through the lobby and open the door. I am not sure if he said mind the step or at least he should have. As you step into the circular lobby, it is miniscule, look up. It is something to see and that is all I will say. I nearly fell through the mirrored door as I didn’t see the step. However, I managed to preserve my dignity and entered into pure luxury of velvet seats, leopard print carpet and a tiny bar. It felt as if I was in someone’s boudoir, possibly Mr Wilde’s as there were photos of him scattered around.  The barman told me to sit wherever I would like and so I did in the mini study area ( there is also a separate alcove with more seating) with the faux candelabras by a portrait of the man himself. I was a little out of place with my wellington boots, jeans etc and there were two couples seated having drinks waiting to go to very chic Le Restaurant.

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Ambiance/Good Vibes

As I caressed the velvet seating, I perused the drinks menu and spied the signature cocktail list with suitably Wilde inspired names and after a bit of indecision I decided that I was indeed “Born to be Wilde” or at the very least insane to come out in the rain and wind. The barman, Aghiles, came over to take my order.  There is nothing as vulgar as going to the bar to place one’s order at Le Bar – oh no this is the place to come where the old rules are still in existence: soft lighting, cocktails made properly, service at the table and being left alone to think upon whatever takes your fancy. After my order was taken, I sat back and enjoyed the mellow voice of Nat King Cole –  the background music here is exactly that in the background. There is no need to shout at your companion. As I was solo, I just sat and relaxed and thought a little bit about Mr Wilde.

Les Verres/ Drinks

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My Born to be Wilde cocktail arrived along with some savoury tidbits and I took a sip. Oh la la I certainly might be wild after this cocktail a mixture of: Bacardi Reserve, honey, tabasco and basil.  It certainly pepped me up – strong, spicy with a little dose of sweet. I think I just described myself – ha!  The cocktail was exquisite and certainly very strong!  As I sipped it, I forgot about my woes, the rain and started to feel very very comfortable.  Even the slightly chintzy fittings were all forgiven. 

As wild as I would like to be, it was after all a Wednesday night and I had another two days left of work. I bid the very talented Aghilles and Mr Wilde’s last haunt – L’hotel – à bientôt. I shall be back very soon. It was blissful way to spend 2 hours- as Oscar once said: “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best”.

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Where? 13 Rue Des Beaux-Arts, 75006 Paris

How? Line 4 (Saint Germain des Près or Odeon) + 10 mins walk

Open when?  7 days a week + they stop serving at 1am (Mon to Weds are the quieter evenings, it is busy on the weekend)

Pricey? The signature cocktails are around €15 and if that’s not your thing then choose from the menu: wine, spirits etc

Website: http://www.l-hotel.com/