July 16 2011
Simon de Burton
Weekdays are so hectic and fractured that I long for Friday when I can spend a couple of days with my wife, Malin, and daughter, Coco, who’s two, free from travel and business. On Friday evenings Malin and I always make a point of going out together, usually to Edera, an Italian restaurant just a short walk from home. There is rarely anyone in there who is not from the ’hood and it is a true local eatery – but the food is absolutely off the clock, especially during the truffle season.
The days of going on for a wild night at Tramp or Boujis are long gone – now it’s all about getting home to catch a decent eight-hour sleep because Coco rarely wakes later than 6am. It’s down to me to start the day with her – and, since I’m naturally an early riser, I thoroughly enjoy those first peaceful hours together.
Once Malin is up and about, the other part of my Saturday-morning ritual begins – and, although it sounds sycophantic in this context, my absolute delight is to read the FT Weekend, especially the arts and property sections. I also study closely the arts pages of the International Herald Tribune. At 12 o’clock Malin usually brings me back to my senses and we’ll jump into the car and head for San Lorenzo for lunch. Coco’s favourite food is pasta, and the reception she receives at this restaurant is extraordinary. She’s treated like royalty.
Afterwards, I’ll pay a visit to the HR Owen car showroom in Old Brompton Road. It’s an absolute curse being a man with a boyish temperament, and I love cars just as much now as I did when I was a teenager. My current vehicle is a Range Rover Sport, which is perfect as a family car – but recently I’ve been drooling over the Maseratis, Ferraris and, especially, the Alfa Romeo 8C. Conversely, I spend almost as much time looking at clothes to buy Coco. There’s an unbridled joy in seeing your child dressed in something cute, and the salespeople at Marie Chantal and Bonpoint must regard me as an absolute pushover. That proves that the wild days are now nothing but a speck in the rear-view mirror, doesn’t it?
I’ll often drop into Lidgate, the butcher, for some steak for supper, or one of their chicken and ham pies: they are second to none. If I venture further afield, it will invariably be to Berry Bros in St James’s. I’ve always regarded wine merchants as being rather like art galleries in that they can be a bit intimidating. But the people at Berry Bros are incredibly helpful; they don’t mind that I’m not in the market for a £17,000 case of Lafite – buying wine at that level strikes me as slightly potty, so I tend to go for second or third growths.
Sunday mornings are much like Saturdays. I’m addicted to newspapers and used to look forward to the News of the World for its ridiculous content – but not any more. I usually revisit the FT Weekend, then spend too much time looking on the web at further covetable cars and also watches, another passion.
Lunch is at either The River Café or Cipriani [now known as C London] – both Italian, but dissimilar. On a Sunday, the latter is very family-orientated and Coco loves it, but she ensures that we don’t linger for too long before our afternoon walk. Holland Park is right on our doorstep, and we’re also regular visitors to the amazing children’s play park off Norland Place, where the prime minister occasionally takes his three small children.
Back at home, we’ll put Coco to bed in the early evening, and then Malinand I can enjoy just being together. We are both terrible television addicts and like nothing better than to settle down to watch favourite shows such as The Sopranos, Mad Men or the recent Boardwalk Empire. After that, it’s time for a decent sleep in anticipation of another hectic week.