It's not often I share something in common with Justin Bieber, but that was the case this week when I went along to the revamped Mr Chow in Knightsbridge, which re-opened its doors recently to celebrate its 45th anniversary.
Having lived in Los Angeles for a couple of years (but without much money), I've always wanted to go to Mr Chow - there's branches in Beverly Hills, London, New York amongst others - a place you read about in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter as somewhere where deals are done and starlets are wooed. So this was a bit of wish fulfillment.
There's something about those esteemed establishments, those London staples with their old-fashioned ways and while Mr Chow 2013 is pristine, there's still something of that retro vibe to it.
"I've only been to the Chicago Rib Shack around here," said my dining partner, glancing at her surroundings. We definitely weren't in the local Chinese buffet anymore.
Thankfully, the food and service is worth the cash. I admit I was quite surprised that the front of house is run by Italians, but Dino and his team are incredible hosts, familiar with the customers, helpful, not too pushy. If we weren't eating squab chicken with hoisin sauce in a lettuce leaf, the kind of dish that is moreish and fresh at the same time, I could have sworn we were in a family-run trattoria.
So yes, the food. Deep fried beef balls were succulent and sticky, prawns tangy, light and huge, whilst the lobster was as decadent as you would expect.
They didn't flinch when we asked to take home our chocolate cheesecake.
The clientele were an odd mix of monied businessman and large family groups, some of whom didn't bat an eyelid when the chef came out and did his amazing hand-made noodle show. Probably because they're regulars and have seen it before. My guest and I spent the journey home trying to figure out how he did it.
Did it live up to my expectations? Well, Bieber wasn't there the night I was, but for once I felt like a celebrity. A celeb who'd stuffed his face.Suggest a correction