GRACE AND FLAVOUR

Grace Dent leaves Fischer’s in a Vi­en­nese whirl, doggy bag in hand

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Magazine - - Upfront -

For me, Maryle­bone is al­ways less of a planned des­ti­na­tion, more of an im­promptu am­ble along a deeply deluxe re­tail thor­ough­fare. I didn’t mean to go shop­ping, but now I’m car­ry­ing a new pair of Day Birger et Mikkelsen pumps, ten Farrow & Ball sam­ple pots, a half kilo of milled chia seed and a Con­ran Shop pie crust crimper. Maryle­bone High Street is re­spon­si­ble for many oc­ca­sions where I have queried the where­abouts of my prof­its be­fore ac­cept­ing, ‘OK, I bloody well spent it.’

And now, at the Baker Street end of pro­ceed­ings, on the site of a short­lived ex­pen­sive Ital­ian called Co­ti­die, we have Fischer’s, an Aus­trian-themed ‘in­for­mal neigh­bour­hood café’ with a short but con­sid­ered menu of cured fish, schnitzels, sausages, brötchen, strudels, ice cream coupes and tra­di­tional tortes mit sch­lag. I say ‘themed’, but please don’t go along ex­pect­ing wait­ing staff in leder­ho­sen slap-dancing each other to ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ be­tween cour­ses. This is an el­e­gant, ex­pen­sively wrought, mock 1920s Aus­trian re­fresh­ment room. If you’re ask­ing, ‘But why would any­one do that?’, then my an­swer is: ‘Look, this is Lon­don, we do what­ever we please and if we want to eat mar­il­lenknödel (apri­cot dumplings) and drink schoko­laden­genuss (grand cru Kalinga choco­late served with a jug of hot full-cream milk), then so be it.’ If any­one could dream up this idea and then pull it off (be­cause Fischer’s is re­ally damn af­fa­ble), then it would be those ven­er­a­ble in­sti­tu­tions of Lon­don din­ing Chris Corbin and Jeremy King.

This is the duo who cre­ated Le Caprice, which Princess Di loved, and The Ivy, which Christo­pher Big­gins loved even more. They’re also be­hind The De­lau­nay, of which I’m enor­mously fond; The Wolse­ley, a linch­pin break­fast venue for busi­ness Lon­don; and that pocket-friendly enormo-café Brasserie Zédel, which is a life­saver if you’re book­ing for a large group of tight-wads.

I love that the pair be­lieve Fischer’s is ‘in­for­mal’, while con­cur­rently em­ploy­ing alert, charm­ing staff who wil­fully meet your eye and smile as you en­ter the room, be­fore whisk­ing you to a beau­ti­fully dressed ta­ble, then nip around un­ob­tru­sively, cater­ing to your whims, mak­ing the en­tire visit seem like a tremen­dous favour one has

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