My idea of the perfect fashionable new restaurant is one I don't have to go to. In my eyes, the narrative arc should go something like this: 1. Rumours start surrounding a hot new eatery opening in somewhere like Marylebone, Paddington or Notting Hill (or, God forbid, over there: East). 2. Said restaurant opens to great fanfare, fêted by critics, customers and celebrities alike. 3. People travel from all corners of the globe in the vain hope of getting a table. 4. Eighteen months later, said restaurant closes without me ever having had to go.
Ah, bliss. There is such a lot of nonsense talked about trendy new restaurants these days, in much the same way that we used to discuss trendy new pop groups. As we now define ourselves as much by what and where we eat as what we wear, read or listen to, so restaurants have become the new cathedrals of cool, the new temples of taste ("Liderally!" as they scream in Horrible Histories). And while Londoners are not yet as parochial as New Yorkers – who seem to spend their whole lives worrying about going to "hot" new restaurants – we have started to become a little obsessed.
Luckily I didn't have to worry about going to Stevie Parle's and Tom Dixon's relatively new restaurant The Dock Kitchen, as the first I knew about it was when I accidentally ended up there, on opening night, six months ago. I'd been taken by my friend Oliver, and we were both blown away by the place. Fabulous ultra-urban setting (at the top of Ladbroke Grove), sumptuous modern cooking and a brilliantly-curated shop downstairs, where you can buy a lot of Tom Dixon paraphernalia after one glass too many of the house sauvignon blanc.
Is The Dock Kitchen fashionable? Yes, I suppose it is, but in a typically Tom Dixon-ish way. Which means that he would hate to think of it as fashionable, although he would also hate it if it closed in six months (as I'm sure Stevie Parle would). Which it won't. Because it is very, very good.
Oh, and if you're reading this abroad, and intend travelling here in the vain hope of getting a table – good luck.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'