Thursday, 26 July 2007

"I want something's flesh"

Can crappy boozer turned flash restaurant 
kick 'The Curse of Withnail' 20 years later?

Since providing the location for clapped-out Camden boozer The Mother Blackcap (a conflation of NW1 boozers the Black Cap and The Mother Redcap - now The World's End) in cult 1987 comedy ‘Withnail and I’, 41 Tavistock Crescent, London W11, has had somewhat mixed fortunes, the site changing hands and names enough times to get a reputation as a dog.

The venue where Withnail, played by Richard E Grant, once approached the bar and asked for “Two large gins. Two pints of cider. Ice in the cider” - he was way ahead of the curve with the ice in cider thing – has since been a Frog & Firkin brewpub, a dodgy boozer called Fudruckers, a branch of the now defunct bar brand Babushka and most recently, in a life imitating art full circle, was a short-lived bar called The Mother Blackcap.

Now it’s reopened as Crescent House, a combination of rather smart bar that serves suckling pig sandwiches, beer garden overlooking the Westway flyover and a first floor dining room with a pricey menu peppered with luxury ingredients from summer truffles and foie gras to turbot and sea bass. The chef, Daniel Ostler, apparently has a CV that includes time in the kitchen at The Square, Tom Aikens and Locanda Locatelli. 

No doubt the staff are already bored shitless with smart-arsed punters approaching the bar and, Withnail style, demanding, "We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here, and we want them now."

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