Appointment at the Dentist

St Olave Hart Street.

My first office in the City was in Mark Lane – I was there for sixteen years. Now I re-visit to see my dentist. On Monday when she’d finished with me I visited St Olave’s – where Samuel Pepys worshipped and is buried.

You don’t want a detailed history so I will just mention a few things. First, it escaped the Fire of London, secondly it did not escape the attentions of the Luftwaffe. Why is it called St Olav? You will be aware that she is a Welsh saint that led the Celts against the Normans. Oh dear, you shouldn’t believe everything you read, especially here. St Olaf was king of Norway 1015 – 1028; not often that kings are saints. He was a Good Egg, helping Ethelred the Unready fight the Danes at the Battle of London Bridge in 1014. The church is supposed to be on the site of the battle and is dedicated to him.

The Norwegian connection continued and King Haakon VII worshipped here when he was in exile in WW II. After the war he came back for a service to rededicate the church and brought a stone from Trondheim Cathedral which I couldn’t find.

There are some splendid memorials one of which I had never seen before – I did pop in at lunchtime when I had cracking hangovers all those years ago. I didn’t see it because after the Blitz it disappeared. In 2010 it came up at auction, was recognised and restored to St Olave’s. It is hard to take good pictures of memorials if they are high up and mine is both bad and out of focus. You deserve better, so here’s one on the web.

The memorial effigy of Peter Turner at St Olave Hart Street.

Peter Turner is a physician who died in 1614. There is a lot more interesting stuff at St Olav’s but we must crack on. I have to walk over to Brooks’s to give Ludo lunch. As so often happens he knew more members than me; Ludo 2 – Christopher 0. One of his friends owns Bellamy’s restaurant, the other owned The Spectator, employed Ingy and while he isn’t a dentist has done some drilling.

By coincidence I was invited to Bellamy’s for lunch yesterday by a generous friend and relation. The proprietor was there. He scanned the room and ignored all his clientele except for the daughter of a former chairman of Christie’s who he snogged. She was the only woman lunching. Bellamy’s has a masculine ambience at lunchtime. Ladies dine here in the evening as you will see if you read the link above.

I don’t often go to good restaurants. They are expensive and I can always find faults in the service, the other diners and the food. I will never, ever again go to Scott’s in Mount Street after I was given a table next to an obese Chinese chap whose guests were two hookers. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the girls had a lot going for them.

The service and food at Bellamy’s are impeccable. I had a Negroni to start – it was a generous tumbler. J power-ordered a pale Kir. It arrived looking like a Provençal rosé. I had cold tomato and shrimp soup; delicious. J had whitebait. We both had perfectly cooked steak and chips. The steaks came sliced – something I do at home – leading J to say that we are both so old they have to cut up our food.

We drank Pouilly Fumé or Fuissé – I forget which – and Fleury. It is a class act at Bellamy’s.

3 thoughts on “Appointment at the Dentist”

  1. I’ve got mixed feelings about Bellamy’s. The service is indeed more than impeccable, as you say, and the food’s good-ish- but didn’t you find the surroundings a bit disappointing? Plastic wood effect floor, run-of-the mill posters….bland, lacking in character and instant history? Incidentally, I hear that Green’s has found a new location, which is good news.

    My grandmother once collapsed at Scott’s. Must have been in the 60s. The Full Monty. Table and contents went flying. Had to be carried off on a stretcher.

    1. The tables at Bellamy’s are a bit close together and the low ceiling makes it a bit noisy. Not a good place to discuss confidential business.
      I hadn’t realised that Green’s had closed. When I was there in the 1980s Ronnie Corbett was having lunch at the bar and my fag master was giving the Duchess of York lunch.

  2. An old architect acquaintance often linked historic building restoration to dental repairs: always opt for repair over replacement, a few effective fillings opposed to total extraction. Many architects and designers would do well to follow that advice today and avoid some of the hideously over-restored structures we see today.

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