Ben Wood’s dining boltholes

The global president of digital media agency iProspect was responsible for a 2015 turnover of more than £1bn, working with advertisers such as American Express, Burberry and Nokia

Image: Matt Munro

We are the biggest digital media agency in the world in terms of market coverage, which means I spend a lot of time on planes. I tend to fly British Airways because the food in Club and First is excellent – I eat light, have lots of water and don’t drink the champagne.

Our main hubs are in London, New York and Singapore. In New York, people are keen to start work from the get-go and my breakfast meetings, usually at Soho House in the Meatpacking District or The Standard Grill, can start at 7am. In Singapore, the style of business is refreshingly global and modern and the agenda at our meetings is always managing growth. The opportunity in digital marketing in Asia is huge; one of the local social media platforms commands massive audiences of 600m active monthly users. It’s mind-blowing. I often take clients to Raffles, specifically for the amazing Sunday champagne brunch.

Our focus on Asia also takes me to Shanghai and Tokyo. The last time I was in Shanghai I ate at a great place called Mr & Mrs Bund, which has an amazing view over the river. My steak was fantastic. And in Tokyo I go to Sushi Kyubey at the Keio Plaza Hotel with our colleagues from Dentsu Inc, the Japanese business that iProspect is a subsidiary of. It’s the best sushi in the world. In Tokyo people work unbelievably hard – and late, so we will often go to the New York Bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt after dinner. It’s a quintessential Tokyo experience.

A big part of my job is bringing flourishing businesses into our network, so I spend a lot of time on the West Coast of the US. The Vietnamese restaurant Tamarine in San Francisco’s Palo Alto is the perfect place to go with clients; it’s the right balance of formal and fun. It’s over dinners here that we’ve built up unbelievably successful partnerships with Facebook and Google.

I love the spirit of innovation in Silicon Valley. People are determined to succeed – and to do business. You can really feel this atmosphere at Old Pro, an archetypal American college bar we go to for beer and burgers. You’ll find some of America’s brightest stars of the future letting their hair down and trying their luck on the rodeo machine.


The city I most enjoy entertaining in, however, is London. I have breakfast meetings with clients and senior staff at Little House [pictured]. It feels removed from the advertising hullabaloo of Soho and gives a degree of privacy. I always have poached eggs on toast and English Breakfast tea.

For lunch, my go-to is Scott’s. It feels professional and discreet, but you can still have fun and sit at the bar if you want a casual experience. I like the roasted cod with chorizo.

The gravity of a restaurant can be a powerful statement of intent. It was in the back of Scott’s that I persuaded Andrew Hirsch we were serious about buying his publishing business, John Brown Media. A year on, it’s been a tremendous success; we must go back to celebrate.

Olivomare, a fish restaurant in Victoria, is very impressive. The starter of fresh clams is delicious, and I always have the tuna for a main. I’ve also had a few great meals at 34 recently. It’s sophisticated, versatile and unfussy.

These meetings are all about building relationships. When you’re buying a business, you need to make people feel they can work with you. They need to like and trust you. That’s very difficult to establish in a boardroom; it’s much easier in a good restaurant.