The Wolseley .
Had lunch at the Wolseley last week, a real place not a place you follow or follows you or a place I have thank the good Lord ever seen someone become Sheriff of or been ousted.Nope its a place with real people with real lives and real stories.
I’d just ordered when on his way out the handsome and chiselled Brett Gosper dropped by to gloat on England’s performance in Dubai adding on parting that he and Jeremy King once considered swopping roles for a week, I’ll conclude with the probable results later but the exchange did prompt me to think further and try and analyse the incredible experience that walking into and dining at the Wolseley surely is.
Jeremy King and Chris Corbin’s Vision is a brand in motion a literal living breathing example of how to do it right, from the clapping on the queue while you’re waiting on the phone booking line to the slight nod from the twinkle eyed doorman as you alight your cab.
One enters the bosom of the restaurant via the jet black, blackout curtains that shield the greeting staff from the chill of the street.First timers eyes light up at the room before them and for the irregulars without fail someone remembers your name and engages in informal conversation, listens to you and guides you to your table.
It is never empty the concept of 24 hour dining works, this means that from about 8am to midnight atmosphere is guaranteed with a gentle ebb and flow of clientele along the way.
Outside it may be austerity but in here, in the Wolsey there is that feeling of life ain’t so bad.
As I had mucked up my guests date and time I dined alone and took the chance to have a proper look on how it works – discretely as rubber necking is seriously fround upon, no place here for the ‘seen to be seen with crowd’ By the way as soon as I mentioned my predicament a newspaper appeared, as if it had always been there.
It’s obvious really, it’s about the staff or the colleagues as we are now supposed to be called ! The Ratio must be 2 to 1 this means you really feel like you are being served not accommodated – part of the atmosphere the theatre of the whole place , p a pleasure to be a guest there.
There is an expression to describe an Agency that starts to slip “the chef has left the kitchen” or the “Captain has left the bridge”
I cannot ever imagine this tag ever happening with the Wolseley.I have never ever been to any of the restaurants that they own and not seen either Jeremy or Chris weave gracefully amongst the diners tables and staff pausing along the way for a small discourse here and there or moving on if deeper conversation is happening between diners.
Two other characters dominate the proceedings, Mitchell and Robert, Robert you’ll know as he’s often mentioned as his best in class by Michael Winner no mean feet and Mitchell you’ll recognise as the man that I doubt Martin Johnson could have got passed !
These two characters must know almost every diner whose ever eaten in the West End from their history at the Ivy and other King- Corbin fine establishments.Their tune for the role they play is instinctive my wife Sue dined the week before and was recognised,welcomed and hosted as if she’d been there every day of her entire life, “you just don’t get that anywhere else’ she said, praise indeed.
Couple of things I noticed, by the time my napkin had slipped from my knee and heading south another was already on the table .The tables either side of me changed diners whilst I was there and I hardly noticed one minute there was the grey haired elegance of a pinstriped hedge funder and the next a couple of ‘ladies who lunch’ sat at a table as crisp and bright as it had been at opening time.
So what’s the point of writing this ? The point is that in our business, the ad business service counts and at the Wolsey you get it in spades.
Service is noticed here valued and paid for by both partners the business and the consumer .
Oh the imaginary swop of Brett and Jeremy ?
How’s this ?
“morning Brett, don’t worry everything is in order just let us get on with the job”
“morning Jeremy, Clients just resigned – Creative Director has resigned – procurement is in reception …….. and I couldn’t get you a table at The Wolesley !”