Thursday, 10 March 2011
At the Four Seasons, re-opened after a £125 million makeover, a scripted limpet attaches himself to me to promulgate ‘the concept ‘ behind Amaranto, its new drinks/ dining zone. Mesmerised by my dramatic abattoir red surroundings, I don’t hear him. As with creator Yves-Pierre Rochon’s gauche rehash of The Savoy, here’s more heroically hilarious designer swank. Fascist Futurist bas-relief; horsey hideousness; wine libraries behind glass; geegaws I swear I saw at TK Maxx; a lurid representation of the Four Seasons (as in weather, not Franki Valli); zebra print chairs at a vast polished table on which I envisage a decrepit, debauched Prime Minister of some basket case Mediterranean economy polishing off a tartelette by way of an amuse bouche; an open flame effect fire that's one sheepskin rug short of a hooker's shag pad: I’m getting Mussolini’s marbled palazzo booked for a 70s porn shoot. Worryingly, I quite like it. Cocktails work: date’s aperitivo hour classic, negroni sbagliato, is served with a wasabi nut mountain; cinnamon fig sour winks at me but I owe it to our OTT surroundings to go for gold. Flaked gold leaf floating in Cavalli vodka and Martini Gold by Dolce & Gabbana, the Hamilton Place martini is (Amanda) Lear jet-class camp at £18.50. Later, as Amaranto’s credit card terminal goes into terminal decline, I’m left dangling for fully ten minutes, sans apology. More time to gawp. Mubarak; Gaddafi; Brangelina (reportedly Four Seasons fans); leathery Latin lizards with dodgissimo taste: here’s your spiritual home. In his mustard Toytown soldier's uniform, a doorman bids us adieu to the strains of Cole Porter played on a (red ) baby grand. Camp or what?
Four Seasons London at Park Lane, Hamilton Place W1 7499 0888