Our itineraries only had us both in London for less than twenty-four hours. Sam, now lawyering in his native Lancashire — “Recusant country, Cusack, you’d love it.” — was down in London for a party on Friday night. “How about a coffee Saturday morning before I head back up north?” Why not. “It’d have to be early though.” Blast. How early? “Say… 10 o’clock?” Well, that’s not so bad is it! Where to meet? “The Wolseley, next to the Ritz.” Never heard of it, but Sam must know what he’s up to.
Here, I have to admit that I usually hate public places devoted to the consumption of food. Restaurants irritate me and I infinitely prefer the dinner party to the restaurant appointment. Even the places I like, I actually despise in one way or another. But the Wolseley failed to irritate me in the slightest, which earns it very high marks indeed in the Grand Book of Cusack. The staff are friendly but suitably removed, the coffee is excellent, and the food tasty with portions just the right size. On Sam’s recommendation I tried the Wiener Kaffee, and ordered French toast for myself, Sam taking pancakes. Everything was just as it should be, and without any fuss. What better praise could one give such an establishment?