My Favourite Restaurant: James Dyson - Unpretentious food - by design

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The Independent Online
JAMES DYSON, the man whose bagless vacuum cleaner became a bestseller, names Blueprint Cafe as his favourite eatery - a fitting choice for an entrepreneurial designer.

Part of the Conran Group, Blueprint is located within London's Design Museum complex. For the past two years Mr Dyson has been a trustee of the museum, and its chairman since January .

But this, says Mr Dyson, is not why he nominates Blueprint. Rather, it is for "the amazing views of the Thames" it offers. "You sit on the second floor and there are these great big plateglass windows with stunning views of the river." And the reason that thrills him, he says, is sheer nostalgia.

In the late Sixties, Mr Dyson, now a multimillionaire and chairman of Dyson Appliances, designed a high-speed river landing craft, the Sea Truck. A spell in Blueprint brings back to him the industrial smells and frozen- mouth syndrome he experienced cruising up and down the Thames demonstrating and selling the craft.

Mr Dyson has visited the cafe about once a month for the past five years. "It has a bustle and a buzz and it's very relaxed," he says. He has dined there with his company's overseas distributors, "the odd City person" and Design Museum trustees. It is also a convenient family meeting spot, being between his own home in Chelsea and his son's in Islington.

He doubts whether the cafe's staff, mainly cheerful New Zealanders, know him, but he appreciates the way they pretend to and always feels welcomed. Although he admits he rarely looks at his credit-card slip when he pays, he thinks a meal there "is very cheap".

He likes the cafe's "simple, but well-cooked unpretentious food", such as fresh fish and rocket salad. Thanks to the persuasive powers of the waiters, he nearly always chooses a New Zealand wine.

Blueprint Cafe, The Design Museum, Butler's Wharf, London SE1 (Tel 0171- 378 7031)