Letter: Vintage Wolseley meant service, class and fun

Susie Boyt was spot on in her excellent piece “A love letter to The Wolseley” (Life & Arts, April 9).

John Betjeman, poet Laureate and saviour of Holy Trinity Sloane Square, famously noted that when the end of the world came he wanted to be in the haberdashery department of a certain iconic department store on Sloane Square “because nothing unpleasant could ever happen there”.

Betjeman would say the same today of all the restaurants, lovingly created and expertly run by Jeremy King, until recently in partnership with Chris Corbin. Those restaurants have now fallen under the total control of a large and anonymous, diversified Thai food and hospitality company.

Dan Craig, the former general manager of The Wolseley, now GM at the highly regarded Soutine in fashionable St John’s Wood (the newest restaurant in the group), does not mind his senior staff announcing to a host wishing to impress his guests: “There is a message for you, Sir, from your friend Mr Daniel Craig. He sends his very best wishes to you and your guests. He was looking forward to meeting you all but he could not wait any longer as he had another important engagement.” Vintage Wolseley. What service! What class! What fun!

King’s loyal customers will hope that it will not be Goodbye to Schnitzel Holstein, Soufflé Suissesse and Îles Flottantes.

What we do know is that King will emerge once again, Phoenix-like, with a new opening where we will all congregate. We will feel completely at home among old friends, and in the total knowledge that nothing unpleasant could possibly occur inside his new establishment in this very uncertain world.

Rupert Pardoe
London SW1, UK

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