Atlantic owner fumes at Marco 'spin-doctoring'

THE BATTLE between restaurateurs Oliver Peyton and Marco Pierre White took another twist yesterday when Mr Peyton told The Independent that he was stunned by reports he had read of the High Court case this week.

Fuming and barely able to contain himself, Mr Peyton, the owner of the Atlantic Bar and Grill in central London, said of his rival Marco Pierre White: "This guy is so good at spin, I'm surprised he doesn't work for the Labour Party."

Mr Peyton had sued Mr White, who runs the Titanic restaurant in the same London building, claiming it was a replica of his own art deco establishment and should be closed down.

In the event the pair ended up settling their differences privately after just one day of the court case. Mr Peyton was keen to stress that the heart of the claim was against Posthouse Hotels, their landlords in the former Regent Palace Hotel near Piccadilly Circus.

After the hearing the Atlantic and their landlords issued a joint statement confirming that both sides "look forward to resuming a good relationship long into the future".

Mr White said: "I am happy with the outcome but disappointed that they abandoned their case against me, because I was looking forward to a two week vacation in court."

So much for the public statements. The private reality is proving rather different.

Mr Peyton said yesterday: "I was the only one in court on Monday. I was standing there. Where was he? And then I read in the London Evening Standard Marco saying that he was dying to go to court. In fact, they have been gagging to get out of this case.

"All the reports are inaccurate. Marco said we made an offer to him. I've nothing against Marco, he is a fantastic soundbite person. But we have never made him an offer.

"Basically we've spent well over a year on this case. He kept saying he was dying for his day in court. He has said in the papers that he is a hunter. If he's such a hunter, why wasn't he in court? People go on about this rivalry between us. You know the truth, I have only ever met him once in my life, and then we only shook hands."

"I know there are rules for reporting a court case, but Marco still managed to get his oar in. The media should have checked with me. The coverage has been staggering. When I read the papers I thought my lawyers were working on a different case. There's a lot journalists don't know. Did you know that after there was concern about crowding at the Titanic, Marco and his legal advisers had people standing outside counting how many people came into my restaurant?

Mr Peyton said he was still fuming over the case, and felt he had acted honourably in not speaking to the media so far And he is not planning to make the short journey upstairs to finish the battle with Mr White.

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