Luxury People

Heal’s London + Design Ireland

Shillelaghs and Shenanigans 

Heal's St Patrick's Day Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

It’s time to knot the William Evans of St James’s shamrock ties. From St Patrick’s Eve to St Patricks’ Evening, west Britain comes to the West End. Ukuleles tuned, Lavender’s Blue enjoy high church and high jinx. St Patrick’s Church is gleaming, no, really gleaming, seriously gleaming, super gleaming, following a recent restoration. Marble practically flows down the steps onto Soho Square. It’s more Italianate than the Vatican City; more Romanesque than the Sacred City. St Patrick’s was the first church in England dedicated to the Patron Saint of Ireland. Shamrocks are blessed and given out after Mass for the Solemnity of St Patrick. This is the last church in London to carry out the tradition. The principal celebrant is Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, former head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Next stop, dining at the O+C Club to end St Patrick’s Eve. Pumpkin gnocchi with herb cream sauce and parmesan is followed by seared scallops with crab and ginger. And of course the club specials – Saint-Véran 2012 and the pudding trolley. His Eminence is off to The Garrick.

Heal’s lives up to its rep on St Patrick’s Evening as the shop that likes to party, throwing an Irish hooley up there with Finnegans Wake. We’re on it like a car bonnet. Sadly teetering on the edge of living memory, Tottenham Court Road was once lined with smart furniture shops. Heal’s, although missing its original concave shop windows, remains standing tall and proud. It’s the launch party of Design Ireland, a showcase for Irish products. Rathbornes 1488 takes pride of place. It’s the oldest candle company in the world. For over half a millennium, Rathbornes has illuminated the homes, churches and lighthouses of Ireland. As well as Brown Thomas in Dublin, Rathbornes’ products are now stocked in Fortnum + Mason and Heal’s. The DJ ups the beat. Tonight Lavender isn’t blue; Lavender’s green.

Rathbornes 1488 Candles @ Heal's © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Luxury People Restaurants

Marcus Wareing +Tredwell’s Covent Garden London

 Walking Carefully

Tredwell's Covent Garden Dining Room © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Turnmills. Treadmills. Tredwell’s, It’s rude to name drop but we haven’t been to a Marcus Wareing restaurant since lunch some time ago with a heritage architect, an architectural historian and a museum dame at The Gilbert Scott. So how thrilling to be back at one. Despite it being the second of two school nights out in a row. The previous evening was dinner at the O+C Club with a Country Life contributor. It’s rude to place name drop but we haven’t had such good John Dory since dinner at Cliveden, back in its Von Essen heyday. Incidentally the name John Dory is derived from the French Jaune Doré which means golden yellow, the colour of the fish. Anyhoo, Tredwell’s it is. Thankfully this restaurant is far enough along Upper St Martin’s Lane not to be illuminated by the neon nightmare of Leicester Square. Ignore the critics; the place is fab. Especially so in the company of a hotelier soon to be hotelier and restaurateur, a restaurateur, a realtor and an interior designer. “A dash of Art Deco is the whole rage” apparently. Blah blah blah. Inchbald naturally comes up in conversation. When worlds collide, past and present merge. We’re full of the joys tucked into an intimate booth. Fresh, colourful and photogenic, the food is pretty decent too. Sometimes, there’s art in simply living. After a negroni aperitif on the rocks, two courses turn out to be filling enough.  The usual Malbec, this time 2010 Flechas de los Andes (£51). Chef Marcus Wareing comes up trumps with fish cake, confit egg, roast garlic aioli and salsa verde (£8.50) followed by roasted monkfish, squid, prawn orzo (£26). Favourite line of the night, “I’ve packed a suitcase in my suitcase for shopping in New York.”

Tredwell's Covent Garden Starter © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley