On his 45th birthday in 1969, James Bond breakfasted on “four eggs, scrambled, with pepper sprinkled on top, half a dozen rashers of unsmoked bacon, well done, on the side and a long draught of strong black coffee” at The Dorchester hotel in London.
But this account doesn’t come from Ian Fleming’s oeuvre. Instead, it appears in William Boyd’s new James Bond novel Solo. It will be published on Thursday September 26, and from that date until Saturday November 30 The Dorchester is offering Breakfast with Bond, a quintessentially English breakfast served in 1960s style (with silver service), in celebration.
While it isn’t imperative to order the 1960s feast that 007 eats (as there is a wider selection of food on the menu), in order to get into the psyche of the MI6 spy each guest will also be able to choose between a complimentary copy of the book, the loan of an iPod complete with the recorded dulcet tones of Dominic West as he reads the novel or musical hits from the 1960s. A copy of a 1969 newspaper will be offered to each guest; a gentleman never checks his iPhone over the breakfast table, especially at such an iconic hotel.
“I chose The Dorchester for James Bond to stay at because the hotel has strong literary associations, particularly in the second world war, but also because it was the epitome of style and glamour in the 1960s,” explains Boyd. “It was, and still is, an elite hotel, and so it seemed fitting that when Bond wanted to give himself a special birthday treat he would book himself a room at The Dorchester.”
Breakfasting à la Bond costs £32, but once a week one table will be chosen at random to be charged the Grill Menu’s 1969 sum: a princely £2 per person. Elsewhere, for the night owls as oppose to early birds, martini masterclasses will be hosted by bar manager Giuliano Morandin, who has been shaking, not stirring at the hotel for 30 years, to explain the exact specifications of Bond’s martini.
At the Saturday September 28 breakfast (tickets £69), Boyd will read from the first chapter of Solo, sign copies and discuss the writing of the book. Cars from the 1960s will be parked in the forecourt, accompanied by appropriately costumed characters, and guests are encouraged to wear their own period garb.
But to recreate Bond’s birthday in even greater detail, request 007 Room Service for a nightcap martini and the collection of Ian Fleming’s novels in your room. And bear in mind that although he breakfasted alone, he was clearly hungry. For it is unlikely that Bond spent the last night of his 44th year completely solo.