Your usual table? Who eats where: Terry Venables Ex-England Manager

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The Independent Culture
I LIKE to go to places where I know I'm going to get a good welcome. It's part of the meal to chat with everyone there and find out what's going on in their world. That's why I usually stay with tried and trusted restaurants like the Rib Room at the Hyatt Carlton Tower (2 Cadogan Place, SW1, 0171 235 1234). I'm not a big meat-eater, but if you're going to have meat it's definitely the place to go.

I was first introduced to it when I was 18 and had just got into the Chelsea team. I used to go there on my own once a month for a big day out, and got friendly with Tommy Steele, who did the same. I don't have a problem eating alone, and still go to the Carlton on my own occasionally, especially if I want to plot tactics.

I sit and eat wonderful fillet steak and study form, with the entire table covered in bits of paper. The service is outstanding - Michael the maitre d' is very friendly, and the barmen, Ray and Dan, have been there since my first visit. It's like going to meet old friends or family.

I only eat out occasionally, but living in London, you really have to take advantage of its great restaurants at some point. I especially like to eat out when someone takes me. I try to dictate where we go, or rather I suggest somewhere and then tell them what a great choice they made! My favourite food is Chinese, and locally we have the fantastic new Ken Lo restaurant, Memories of China (67-69 Ebury Street, SW1, 0171 730 7734). With English food you can get a bit bored; meat and two veg, three courses and so on. With Chinese you get a little of everything at once which keeps the excitement going.

But there's really no chef like hunger, and when you're hungry more or less all food is magnificent, whatever it is. The only thing that would constitute a bad meal for me is anything with cucumber in it. I absolutely loathe it, and can smell it a mile off. Having revealed that, anyone with a grudge will now know what to serve me. Or else they'll start sending me slices through the post

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