There are many new-money restaurants in London, but there are still, thank God, old-money restaurants.
Le Caprice most definitely falls into the latter category, and like Mr Stevens, the butler of the grand English country house in The Remains of the Day, the maitre d' at Le Caprice has not had to go out to see the world. The world has come to him.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall dined there, Princess Diana was a regular and Michaels Heseltine and Portillo used the place when each found themself in a brief flirtation with the Tory Party leadership.
But while politicians, celebrities and business tycoons come and go, Le Caprice goes about its business in its customarily understated, efficient, and surprisingly reasonably-priced way. The black leather and chrome decor may now look a little (unconsciously) retro. The tables are quite cosily close together, and while the menu of pan-fried foie gras, chargrilled squid, sea bass and salmon fish cakes may become familiar, it will never breed contempt.
London is becoming much like New York with restaurants impossibly smart one month, and so declasse six months later, they might just as well be at the North Pole. But Le Caprice is a restaurant any client will yearn to be invited to.
Where: Arlington Street, London SW1A 1RT
Contact: 020 7629 2239
How much: around £45 per head