A week or so ago, I took The Girl to Le Caprice. Recently, we've become rather fond of the place, and it's currently one of our favourite restaurants. Forget all the fuss, in reality it's just a small room off Piccadilly, painted white, and decorated simply with fresh linen tablecloths and black and white photographs by David Bailey of his ex-wife, Catherine Deneuve and the like.
There's also an upright piano, played badly by a thin person wearing black tie, and a bar propped up by silver-haired roués, chatting up good looking London blondes on the wrong side of forty. Maybe that's its charm? Beacuse it's not Sketch. Still fashionable, glamourous and grown-up after all these years, just because it is what it is.
Service is friendly and relaxed, and the tables are spacious- that is if you're not sent to social Siberia and given the tiny table for two in the corner, on the right-hand side. The food is good- as you would expect- but certainly not exceptional.
My "dressed Dorset Crab with celeriac rémoulade" was pretty decent, but the second course of "Cornish lemon sole with herb butter and sea greens", was, in my opinion, under-cooked, and, sadly, a trifle bland. Mrs Aitch ordered an attractive looking "wild rabbit salad with elderberries and cob nuts" which "ticked all the right boxes", but her main course of Atlantic cod with brown shrimps and sea purslane (Halimione portulacoides (if you've ever wondered) left her slightly unsatisfied with " a monster lump of fish" she couldn't handle, and "not enough brown shrimps". It's always welcome to see English Wine on a leading restaurant's list, and the Wickham 2008 Vineyards Vintage Selection from Hampshire was just the ticket.
Don't let our slighly picky observations put you off; I'm a great believer in the idea that you don't go to restaurants just for the food alone, and Le Caprice has glamour and ambience in abundance. In short, it's fun. It's also, in my opinion, surprisingly affordable for a restaurant at the top of the game, and I reckon it would be quite possible to dine there in style for fifty quid a head. We're fans.