I have low expectations of spendy London restaurants, and this one lives down to them
Café Lapérouse, Courtyard, The Old War Office, 7 Horse Guards Avenue, London SW1A 2EX (laperouse.com). Starters £19-£120, mains £22-£80, desserts £14-£22, Wines from £70
In the 1940s, the Old War Office building on London’s Whitehall was where the British high command prosecuted their war against the Nazis. Now, as a newly opened Raffles hotel, it’s where the diners may end up feeling like the enemy. It’s been renamed the OWO, which is also the sound you may make on receipt of a bill for eating at Café Lapérouse, one of nine restaurants planned for the building. It is part of a recent boom in bizarrely expensive, glitz-crusted, caviar-drenched money-spaffers in the centre of town: places like Bacchanalia just off Berkeley Square, and the trio of offerings at the newly opened Peninsula Hotel at Hyde Park Corner. It suggests that in Mayfair and St James’s right now there is no cost-of-living crisis. I have no intention of working my way around them all. I have some self-respect. But it’s worth enduring one of them to remind ourselves just how much fun your money won’t buy you.