Food and Drink: A public offer in private company: The Green Street club has opened its doors to anyone who enjoys a good lunch, says Emily Green

Why open a club? When Orlando Campbell opened his second new-wave club, Green Street, nine months ago, he did so for the age-old, undemocratic reason that, as he says, 'You can choose your customers.' In his urge for exclusivity, Mr Campbell finds himself in the very mixed company of Whites and the Groucho Club, the New York Yacht Club and the Ku Klux Klan.

His particular agenda appears to be to cultivate some sort of creative environment. If so, I fear he is suffering from a tender delusion of the sort shared by administrators of Rudolph Steiner schools. Had Joseph Conrad gone to a Steiner school, he would have been more likely to run a wool shop than write Heart of Darkness. Had David Lynch sat around fashionable clubs instead of coffee shops, he might have directed The Camomile Lawn instead of Blue Velvet.

Still, it is a normal enough wish to want to surround yourself with a like-minded crowd. The problem with Mr Campbell's first club was that he fell out with his dream. He opened the Globe in Notting Hill, west London, three years ago and closed it within 12 months. Probably for reasons of economy and fashion, it was put together with junk - corrugated metal for a door, newsprint for wallpaper. Mr Campbell's father, Charles, was host.

The presence of the elder Mr Campbell lent to the place its whiff of the bohemian. This gent, some 20 years ago, was host at the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden. Neal Street's then owner, Sir Terence Conran, still loves to recall how Charles Campbell drew Francis Bacon there, and how on one occasion, greeting a guest with open arms, Mr Campbell let drop the unbelted trousers he had been surreptitiously holding up.

That was then. In my brief experience, the clientele of the Globe tended to consist of creepy young clubbers: antipodeans flouting immigration laws, the smirking sons of famous fathers, lewd middle- class girls with prominent tattoos, the odd skeletal model, a pop star who appeared in the Face more often than on stage . . .

The younger Mr Campbell said he came to hate the Notting Hill scene. He closed the Globe, and nine months ago moved it into a fine old house in Mayfair, central London, renaming it Green Street. He chose Mayfair, he said, because it is 'half-way between Notting Hill and Soho', which is to say, half-way between fashion and victim. Again, the club intends to appeal to artists and writers.

The writers we encountered during a Tuesday lunch were two ladies, one of whom worked on a Sunday paper. A publicist promoting the place emphasises in a press release that 'table hopping' is encouraged. The heating was broken and the newspaper party found the dining-room so cold that they moved from their table upstairs to the bar.

No artists hopped by our table, but a few appear to have come through the place in the past nine months. In fact, it looks as though someone has taken a paintbrush to the Polish Hearth Club: the ground-floor bar is painted deep green, a basement dining-room in shocking pink. There are some nice works of art - a Calder-style mobile, and at least one canvas by the marvellous Scottish painter, Craigie Aitchison - a family friend.

The chef is a 30-year-old New Zealander called Peter Gordon. According to the press release and accounts from several of his friends, he has knocked about through Australia, South-east Asia, India and several London restaurants. The cooking, which is mongrel and modish, shows the air miles, with harissa here, lemongrass there, and a little bit of everything chucked into the risotto. Unusually for such eclectic food, however, it is good.

Very good. And the point in writing about it is that, presumably for lack of artists and writers, Green Street has opened its dining-room to us commoners for weekday lunch sessions. Quite how it will cope with a roomful of demanding punters, I cannot say. With only three tables occupied, service was amateurish and slow but friendly.

Here, in order of appearance, is what we ate and how we liked it. A chunky lentil, tomato and parsnip soup had terrific body and a pungent, clean strain that tasted like thyme, countered by a smoky-sweet aoli. It was good. Steamed mussels with Thai spices, particularly lemon grass, were also good. Risotto with chunks of chicken, sweet squash and mushrooms was good, but verged on a stew. (I recommend more rice and fewer ingredients.)

Sea bass served on couscous sounds like a bad joke, and cousins of it encountered in other restaurants have been. However, this young chef served the couscous heavily spiked with nuts and onions cooked to caramel sweetness with balsamic vinegar, and topped it with a perfectly roasted bass. Over this he lobbed a great deal of a chilli-rich, spicy harissa paste. It was excellent and my one criticism is that, as the fish was served full of sharp little bones, bread should be served to the side lest a bone be swallowed. And that bread should be better than the spongy, soft (albeit fresh) stuff served at Green Street.

Steamed lemon pudding with poached berries was a witty mixture of summer flavours and winter textures. Coffee tasted burnt. A brouilly was listed as 1991; thinking back, I am almost sure we were served a '92. In the event, it was a dancing, fresh, superbly fruity wine and a snip at pounds 13.50.

Green Street may have an artist around, after all: in the kitchen. For his sake, and ours, I hope the management's fascination with things artistic shifts from trendy crowds to the workaday beauty of running a dining-room like a tight ship.

Green Street Restaurant, 3 Green Street, London W1 (071- 409 0453). Vegetarian dishes. Three-course lunch approx pounds 25 with mineral water, house wine, coffee, service and VAT. Open 12.30-3pm, Mon-Fri. Access, Visa.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition
    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?