November 03 2011
This morning I walked to meet my friend Sean for breakfast at Aubaine in Chelsea. I love that most of my daily activities are within a stone’s throw of each other. My house is a two-minute walk from my office which is, in turn, a two-minute walk from the majority of our venues. The proximity of it all really makes for a neighbourhood feel and also makes my days that much more productive as I spend most of my time “doing” rather than the “getting to the doing”, if that makes sense.
Anyway, I digress. So, I met Sean, who has recently bought Fabergé and is in the process of rejuvenating the brand. We mostly discussed landlords and rents (as this week he is simultaneously opening two Fabergé stores) and roll-out strategies. Just before he dashed off, he handed me a catalogue of the latest and very beautiful Fabergé collection. Earlier in the year at the NSPCC Surrealist Art Ball, of which my wife Marissa and I both sit on the committee, Sean graciously donated a Fabergé ring to the live auction – and I, after seeing Marissa’s delight in the ring, succumbed, bid, and bought the ring in a moment of wine-induced generosity. Needless to say, I have learned my lesson and Sean’s Fabergé catalogue did not make its way home.
After breakfast, I headed to the office to review and sign off the Bumpkin Christmas menus. When we set up the first Bumpkin in Notting Hill, our focus was to serve local British sustainable food in a relaxed environment. This remains our Bumpkin priority – and, as all the menus are seasonal, a lot of work has to be done every quarter to ensure that the menu highlights British seasonal produce. On a work/time level, sometimes I wish we could have an all-year round menu, due to its simplicity – as from a business standpoint, this would make more sense – but at the end of the day, I personally want to eat fresh seasonal produce and support British industry, so spend the time making sure that all of the menus reflect the best of what we Brits can offer.
Marissa and I then meet Martin Brudnizki for lunch at Scott’s to discuss plans for our new home. I love Scott’s. The room – which incidentally Martin designed – the service, and the food are really top notch and my wife and I are regulars there. I find it difficult to order anything but the Dover Sole, it’s excellent, and today is no different. Marissa used to do Martin’s PR and counts him as a friend – as now do I – so when we were shortlisting designers for our home, Martin’s name was high on the list. When we were making our final choice, I called Nick Jones, founder of Soho House, who incidentally I believe is one of the best operators in our business. Nick used Martin to design his own country home, as well as various Soho House locations, and he couldn’t rate Martin highly enough. So Martin got the job – and we are very happy with his team’s work.
After lunch, and after an unnecessary but irresistible bowl of Scott’s honeycomb ice cream, it is back to the office to discuss our Boujis at Battersea Power Station event on November 19. It is the first time a London nightclub has taken over the largest venue in London, headlined by an A-list DJ (Bob Sinclar) – and I’m really excited. All the plans are coming together and our members and friends have been incredibly supportive – they are obviously excited for a big night out too!
After staying in for the past couple of nights, and as Marissa is getting bored with waiting around to go into labour, we decided to go out, subscribing to the school of thought that “it comes when you least expect it!” So we popped over to see Boris Johnson at The Legacy List charity, which supports arts, culture, and education surrounding the 2012 Olympics. I’ve been speaking to Boris’s team to see if we can do something with our Bumpkin Stratford location – which is right next to the Olympic stadium – as it makes sense to do something to support British produce. As usual, Boris spoke in his witty, intelligent way – he is very engaging and inspiring – and I hope we can work together.
At the auction, we bid on a few items – or rather, my wife bid on another ring she liked, and I bid to be an intern at my friend Jenny’s PR firm. I actually bid for a friend’s daughter, who is interested in becoming a publicist, so work experience at Halpern PR would be the perfect opportunity for her to learn the lie of the land, but I’m sort of hoping I win as wouldn’t mind hanging out with Jenny for a couple days (though I might have a tendency to disappear when asked to do the morning coffee run).
On the way home, we popped into a delightful new spot, Poilâne, which has just opened in Cadogan Gardens, for its opening reception, where I met my brilliant long-standing PR, Anouschka, and her parents. Having met Apollonia, the owner, and been gifted bagfuls of delicious fresh bread, it's clear that this will definitely be our new spot.
Finally, ever hopeful that tonight might be the night, we head for more spicy food – Indian at our local in Bina Gardens.