My favourite City restaurant in the 1970s was Turner’s Brasserie in Broad Street Station Arcade. If there were more than two of us we sat at a table with a red and white checked tablecloth attended by matronly waitresses.
If we were two we sat at the counter on stools that pulled out from the bar. I had many merry lunches there under supervision from the waitresses – “now just have a glass, dearie, you don’t need anther bottle”. It imbued a love for eating at the counter.
Broad Street Station has been subsumed into Liverpool Street Station and Turner’s is no more but there are still great places to eat at the counter. In the City Sweetings is a legend. When I first went they didn’t do plastic and I paid by cheque. I was pleased when I was asked by the cashier if I was any relation of Lord Bellew. She asked how he was because he hadn’t been in for a while. Well, he’d retired from the City decades ago and had been dead for fifteen years. Their speciality is Black Velvet and after a couple of pints of this nourishing broth lunch is superfluous. Another time there was lashings of vintage port after lunch that I hadn’t ordered and could not afford. The waiter charmingly said that he would put it on somebody else’s bill.
Moving west, hop onto a stool at the Palomar in Rupert Street. Don’t take my word:
“The Palomar will delight anyone who goes out to eat exciting food, to have fun, or simply to be schmoozed.”
Now let’s crack on to J Sheekey in St Martin’s Court. Perch on a stool while the barman builds a Dry Martini and, if you must, have a fishy dish. Next stop: Arlington Street and Le Caprice. It’s often stuffed with famous media types and it makes me feel good sitting at the counter because I have my back to them.
Now stroll across The Green Park and down Knightsbridge to Good Earth, and bag a stool at the counter. Expect excellent Chinese food but, cave, at Knightsbridge prices.