Your usual table?: Who eats where

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The Independent Culture
A meal is never just about the food. A really good meal depends on who you are with and especially the mood that you're in. That's why it is so difficult to book a table weeks and months ahead. You're never quite sure what kind of day you will have had. Luckily I'm an optimistic person, so I don't usually have too much trouble. I can usually predict that I will be in a fairly upbeat mood.

I'm a great foodie and I love eating, but it has to be the best produce, cooked to perfection. Food is my profession, so of course I make notes. However, eating out is also fun for me. I keep an open mind and I'm always interested to see what people are doing. My own philosophy is "take the best and do as little with it as possible". Food is spoilt if a chef tries too hard or the produce is not as good as it could be. I like food to be honest, fresh and beautifully presented, as it is in Japanese cuisine.

A late Japanese breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel (Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1, 0171 499 0888) is a great way to start the day: grilled fish, steamed rice and miso soup , and skip lunch. For dinner, the Bombay Brasserie (Courtfield Road, SW7, 0171 373 0971) serves good, slightly adapted Indian food. I usually have the chicken and lamb tandoori. It's a light dish, well presented, and served very hot. The restaurant has a good atmosphere, which is very important. Atmosphere can create a dining experience that really stays with you.

The most memorable meal I ever had was on Coral Beach, in Bermuda. It was a perfect starry night and the moon was so bright it felt as if all of it was shining on my table. I had local fish and a good wine, and I felt so good I had my first cigar. At the time it was all new to me, but I'm a real cigar man now as a result of that meal. Of course, Lon- don restaurants don't often have that level of drama and romance, but it still makes a difference if you are treated well and made to feel you are the only diner in the place. Add a good mood and a meal prepared with love and care, and you have a good start for a winning meal. Interview by Anna Melville-James

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