Central London has inexorably been losing the social mix that once made it so vibrant. Or rather, it has become vibrant in a different way, with the wealthy of all nations buying up property increasingly unaffordable to the natives.
Yet one patch of the centre retains its old character: Camden. It remains delightfully itself, with many small, independent traders of the sort that have been priced out of the nominally exclusive postcode NW1 – let alone neighbouring Kentish Town, in NW5. At its heart is Camden Market, fringed by the Comley Council Estate (now preserved as a model for social housing). Yet this is barely two minutes’ brisk walk from the stuccoed splendour and immaculate gardens of Regents Park, where a seven bedroom house can easily fetch upwards of £35 million.
Linking these disparate worlds is Hawley Road, a hidden gem for food and wine lovers in the area, home to both The Hawley Arms (which serves a vast array of craft beers and was the second-home of the late Amy Winehouse) and the long established Pierre at Quinn’s, probably the best French brasserie outside of Paris…and it happens to be the second-home of London Hibs.
Because the Dundee Utd match is a pesky 19:45 kick-off, we've agreed that our food will be served after the conclusion of the match and will consist of two courses; Baby Spinach Salad with Wood Pigeon, Pomegranate, Walnuts and Gorgonzola as our starter, with our main course being Crispy Polenta with Ham Hock and Anchovies. Truffle shavings are again available through until March. Coffee and a selection of cheeses will be available until closing.
House wine is Mother Rock Liquid Skin 2015, which Jean-Claude described in his email “Donald Trump-hued, this South African find abounds with quince and apricot. Keeping the juice in contact with the grape skins produces the fake tan”. Supplied by the folks at Indigo Wine and priced at very reasonable £19.50 per bottle.
See you old faces next Friday. New faces also welcome. Seating is limited in the Piano Bar so arrive early - smart dress only and strictly no jeans/trainers.
BTW – I will have a few Burns Night tickets for a) Those who have yet to pay and b) Those who still want to attend.