TUESDAY: On the way into The Avenue I got a copy of the Evening Standard to see what Fay Maschler had said about us. She's given us a star, so that was encouraging. I rang the staff at Circus and read the piece out to them. In London she exercises huge influence. Tonight a PR company had booked us for a party of 150 hoteliers. There were people from the Savoy, the Halcyon, the Metropolitan and so on, plus some press. It's always nerve-wracking serving drinks to experts. Matters weren't helped when Tadgh, our wonderful Irish barman, phoned in sick. Then people started arriving for six when we thought we had until 6.30. I ended up pouring a lot of champagne myself. Once a waitress ... Got home at midnight and had taramasalata on toast and a glass of Chilean red wine. It's amazing how you forget about eating. And with everything so new and pressurised - we have 150 covers - you'd get a pretty thunderous look from the chef if you went into the kitchen and asked him to rustle you up some seared foie gras.
WEDNESDAY: The highlight of the day was being sent a fantastic red velvet dress by Amanda Wakeley. Sat wistfully in my office wondering when I could wear it. Took a call from a film company who wanted to book a table for a party that included Drew Barrymore. They had very specific instructions about where she was to sit - so that she could not be seen by any of the other diners. In my experience most stars like be noticed when they eat out. In the end her people rang back and cancelled.
THURSDAY: A minor disaster. We had people coming in for coffee in the bar, and it turned out the floor was being sanded, the furniture was piled up in the middle of the room, and two of the staff had gone absent. Staffing in this business can be a problem. It's always been fairly transient, but now good waiters are so much in demand than you can lose them any time. Later I went to Tiffany's for the party to switch on the Christmas lights. Managed to miss Caprice, but caught up with my daughter Imogen who works in the Tiffany's press office. Then had a rare evening in and spent an hour on the phone with my other daughter Tamsin, who's at Edinburgh University.
FRIDAY: Having gone home last night thinking everything was wonderful I came in to discover the computer system that processes customers' bills had crashed, so I spent hours working out whether people had signed the right bit of their credit card slips. Lunchtime was fantastic, though. A terrific atmosphere. It felt like a proper grown-up restaurant. It was the same tonight. Tadgh was back. The place was buzzing. I'd worried about the sort of furniture we'd got in. It was for sprawling on. I remember thinking before the restaurant opened, "English people don't sprawl". They were sprawling tonight all right.
Circus is at 1 Upper James Street, London W1 (0171 534 4000) and is open daily for lunch from noon till 3, and on Monday to Saturday for dinner from 6 till midnight.Reuse content