The food was… who cares! More important: the night’s celebrity roll call — Cressida Bonas, Princess Eugenie, Michael McIntyre, Shane Warne…
I wanted to go to the Chiltern Firehouse for the same reason everyone does: because it’s where famous people go. Kate has been. As has Cara, Rita, Sienna, Alexa. Even some guests with second names too, like Tom Cruise, Michelle Rodriguez, Princess Beatrice (does that count as two names?), Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue. So many slebs have slipped into the gothic-red Mayfair restaurant, its guestbook looks like Lindsay Lohan’s list of conquests. Although by the time I made it even the Camerons and Bono had blagged tables, and even Lindsay wouldn’t stoop that low.
My friends and I tried every trick going to get in. We tried booking, obviously, but Firehouse is on “reservations lockdown” until September — to normal people, at least. I begged a waitress friend who works there (no luck). Other friends pimped themselves out on dates with ageing VIPs, or tried sweet-talking the doorman (impossible). Martin (the underwear model), who’s a genius, snuck in the back door by pretending he was staff — slipping off his suit jacket and strolling through the kitchen until a hostess found him looking lost, and redirected him to the bar. Eventually (in Wales, of all places) I met someone who knew someone who knew someone, who hooked me up with a table for two.
The embarrassing thing about going to celeb places is the moment your cab sweeps up to the door and a twitching mass of paparazzi excitedly swarms for an A-lister to appear. Then 15 sad faces lower their lenses, disappointed, when they see it’s just you. Because I’m a journalist I knew half of them anyway, so I waved as they watched me walk in, bemused.
The Chiltern Firehouse dining room has mirrors everywhere. How else to be sure there’s no chance you’ll miss seeing any celebs dining? Except, because I’m myopic, subtle fame-spotting was out — I had to put on my glasses every time anyone walked in.