JACKIE: We want to talk about some wonders of London. In 1960 I traveled with the Billy Barnes Revue to play London. Thrilling one shot. And then there’s David…
DAVID: I’ve been lucky enough to visit this great city on the Thames over a 100 times since my first in 1959. I’ve come to produce TV movies and miniseries, record company conventions, Television Academy meetings and for the sheer pleasure of roaming the history-soaked streets and sights. Always surprises and joys. This time was no different. Samuel Johnson once pronounced, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Well, Sammy old boy, that goes for a woman too!
JACKIE: And now, since 1999, when I renewed my life with David, the glories of London have been exquisite. The historic and regal locations and the shopping (from flea markets to Harrods), and what keeps getting better is the dining (from fish ‘n chips to Marcus…stay tuned)!
DAVID: This time around, we met up with three fast friends from other parts of the UK to play catch-up. I’ve known and cherished Robin and Sheila Dorkings, Anne Scott, and her recently and sadly deceased husband John, for more years than they would appreciate my mentioning. We’ve met on both sides of the Pond and in cities in Europe over the years, and this time the setting was Robin’s Club, The Oxford and Cambridge, a gorgeous building filled with reminders of major people and events displaying much of Britain’s history. Our reunion was one of the highlights of our trip: the hugs, chat and drinks flowed like the River Thames.
JACKIE: The club’s lunch was quite fine too! But, let’s talk about a stupendous dinner. We want to recommend a very special restaurant, one of three owned by celebrity Chef Marcus Wareing. They range from the relatively casual Tredwells in the West End to the elegant Gilbert Scott in the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel to the one where we dined, simply called “Marcus” in one of London’s most luxurious hotels, The Berkeley.
DAVID: The name was the only simple thing about our dinner. Or about Chef Wareing whose long list of awards includes two Michelin Stars, several Chef of the Year and the Tatler Restaurateur of the Year.
JACKIE: Marcus, the restaurant, stretches over three areas of the Berkeley’s lobby floor; each space we walked was filled with happy diners, arriving at the fine dining room where we sat in a curved leather sofa. Before us were round tables with teal leather chairs—all were filled. To our right, the last area, was a mirror-framed private dining room, also full with a casual-elegant party.
DAVID: My starter: two delicious golf ball-sized scallops with apple, verbena, roasted beef dressing (another surprise!). Jackie enjoyed Scottish langoustine, and between courses we were served an assortment of potato — boiled, mashed and tiny chips — marvelous!
JACKIE: Before our mains, we were treated to a visit to the kitchen and an intro to Chef Mark Froydenlund, an 11-year veteran of Marcus who looked like he must have started at age 10. Then back to our table for red wine to accompany my Galloway beef fillet with my new favorite — smoked bone marrow.
DAVID: I gorged on white suckling pig with bacon broth and agnolotti. More champagne and I was ready for the huge cheese tray with baguette, honeycomb and green salad. Wisely, we shared a dessert: toffee, peanut, and milk chocolate nougat.
JACKIE: Each course was a work of art, almost a shame to eat. But then, we are shameless!
And we’ll travel!
Actress Jackie Joseph-Lawrence and her husband David Lawrence write regularly about travel for The Tolucan Times.