After Hours

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Being famous means that one has to avoid places where ordinary people congregate. It's hard to sit down in a restaurant without someone wanting to take your order or show you some wine list or other.

At Nellie's Green Room and Brasserie in Comedy Street, London W1 (telephone ex-directory), they know that tired theatricals need an expensive meal, a line of cocaine and a good conversation about ourselves at four in the morning without having to worry about being polite to the staff. The bar does a completely authentic Peruvian nesquicko, a kind of spicy South American Complan, made from limes and raw liver.

For the most convincing Creole, I go to Ma Rosenthal's Balti and Tapas Griddle on the Piazza at Covent Garden (freephone Cook-in- sauce). They're great with kids and completely cool about prostitutes and members of the Royal Family. It's just if you start taking your friends along that they get a bit ugly. But the rudeness is authentic Bayou va-t'enculer and complements the down-home swamp ambience perfectly.

For the inevitable late-night Indian, it's not unknown for me to frequent Pizza Machine on Charing Cross Road where the graphically realistic Kashmiri-style deep-pan with ham, cardamom, pineapple and lager is breathtakingly believable and the all-you-can-eat-for- pounds 250 buffet is a lifeline to resting talent. Plus, real Chinese people go there which is proof if any were needed.

A second series of 'Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation' is on Radio 4 Thursdays at 6.30pm for the next five weeks

(Photograph omitted)