Some places just have that certain something. The French have a phrase for it: ‘zat certain sumsing!’ Quirky spots you stumble upon and tell stories about. Lesser known marvels like bonkers bars, rickety restaurants or curious museums where the curator’s cats run wild. It’s not about price or prestige, no, no. It’s all charm and character. Places with personality. That’s a GLP, my friend. Come in and explore, then go out and explore.
This is what it’s all about. A close friend was over from New Yoik, who I don’t get to see very much. Myself, her and a mutual friend met for a drink in The Grapes in Shepherd Market Mayfair, as it was near her hotel. Given it’s Christmas this mostly involved drinking a pint in a sort of contortionist style, pressed up against a wall and harking at what joy it was. We soon escaped and began to look for a restaurant. After not very long we spotted the immortal words ‘Polish / Mexican Bistro’ above an inviting looking place. Of all the Polish / Mexican bistros I’ve ever been confronted with, this looked the best. Teamed up with a plaque that said ‘Mayfair’s Oldest Wine Bar’ and lots of stickers from various reviewers that suggested we wouldn’t get food poisoning, we were sold. L’Autre is the place’s name, completing the bizarre cultural blend, and inside is an equally blissful blend of kitsch and class – brimming with personality and every inch the GLP. We got a cosy little table in the corner next to a fully 70s looking electric fire, surrounded by authentic beams, themselves adorned with fairy lights and police hats, amongst other paraphernalia. How many restaurants can you have nachos to start and venison goulash for main? It worked.
The staff were friendly and courteous, the food was good and great in places – hearty and tasty – and a decent wine selection. A trip down to the facilities revealed a downstairs too, with everyone having a right old time. That’s what the best great little places do – make sure everyone is having a great time and feels like they’re in on something. Next time you’re round that way, get yourself in on L’Autre.
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