I’ve always wanted to meet Marco, having lived a few miles from Harvey’s, the restaurant in Wandsworth he ran between 1987 and 1993, and hearing through the grapevine of his antics, such as shagging customers in his office upstairs and chucking others out if they became unruly. Sadly, I never made it to Harvey’s as a) I was always skint and Harvey’s was expensive and b) this was the period when I was going out less, settling down and having babies.
Marco © Bob Carlos Clarke
However for a laugh and because I love writing, the day before the meal, I post an imaginary scenario outlining what might happen when I meet Marco on my personal Facebook, to much hilarity, applause and many likes from my Facebook friends. Here it is:
MEETING MARCO PIERRE WHITE:
Brian replies, "Of course not, sweetheart. I don't like doughnuts and anyway I have a 10am risk assessment to do as part of my crushingly tedious Health and Safety job, which pays for your indolent and frivolous lifestyle."
A few years ago, before the current craft ale boom, Brian and I recommended to owner Justin Rowntree of Silversmiths restaurant (the one featured on Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares where Gordon made it clear he thought Justin was a complete knob) that Justin start serving real ale in his then nightclub and Tapas Bar, Runaway Girl, as we could tell that real ale was about to hit the big time. Justin sneered that real ale was for blokes with beards. Er...just as beards were about to sprout on a million young men's faces, thus missing two huge upcoming fashion trends in one fell swoop.
I take a quick snap of Dave as he’s a legend, then we proceed into the restaurant.
The first thing I notice, as with all restaurants, is the lighting. Unless it’s the source of sunlight, bright lighting in restaurants is totally naff. They’ve got the lighting right, not too light, not too dim. I like the maître d’ who is welcoming and friendly without being obsequious, staff obsequiousness being my second pet hate along with bright lighting.
“I love the decor!” I exclaim to the maître d’, throwing my arms wide in an expression of genuine joy. “It works very well!”
I can see beyond his impeccably professional demeanor and, with the perception of the observational writer, my immediate, instinctive gut feeling is of a deeply unhappy man who would rather be anywhere else in the world but here.
One by one diners approach Marco. The manager (a personable bloke I first met at Sheffield Food Festival) hands each one a white apron embroidered with the Marco’s Italian logo. Marco cordially greets each new arrival, politely making small talk with them before dutifully and quite carefully signing their apron.
“I must go and get my apron signed before I neck half a bottle of wine, shall we go before dessert?” I ask Brian, and wait for another queue of fawning admirers to abate before we walk up to the reception area. The manager hands me my apron, I wait for the couple talking to Marco to finish, and then finally, I am presented with one of the people I’ve always wanted to meet, Marco Pierre White. Is it going to be an Ollie moment or a Peter moment?
I walk up to Marco, smile and shake his hand. He has a big, warm hand and a mellow handshake.
“I don’t know what the original lyrics were when they wrote it...” I say, feeling like a complete airhead for not being there when John and Paul actually wrote it.
Dave grins at us as we walk in.
N.B: As I'm a top reviewer on Trip Advisor, I'll add the link to my review of Marco's New York Italian here once it's published...