The Connaught is my favourite bar in London. It does a mean strong drink. It also possesses the rare quality of delivering whatever you want, whenever you want and, typically, without the need to even ask for it. The service is, for me, unrivalled in London and the quiet confidence in everything they serve makes it a retreat. If you’re a first timer, go for the martini – with Roku or, if you want to splash the cash, the signature gin. It’s an experience.
My most memorable restaurant experience was at Aroma in Rome. It has a dining terrace overlooking the Colosseum. I’m only flesh and blood and, on a sunny day, it really does feel superlatively special – in the purest sense of the word, it is romantic. The menu is Italian fine dining to the letter, which can be both a good and a bad thing. The wine list is incredibly dangerous: if they offer you champagne, take my advice and punch the sommelier. However, I don’t think there’s a pure expression of Italian luxury, certainly not in Rome. Avoid the crowds; take a few hours out to really appreciate some grandeur. They aren’t even paying me to say this.
I love drinking Italian reds. Amarone, Negroamaro, Nero d’Avola – big, fruit-forward wines that are easy drinkers but have enough complexity to keep the brain ticking.
For a quick midweek meal I always turn to scrambled eggs – with truffle trim from the restaurant, so I can pretend my life is less of a car crash.
For a date-night dinner right now, I’d do rump steak, pomme purée, jus and one of those naughty reds. Though, in the future, I’ll be going out again and hopefully it’ll be to Brat in Shoreditch.
When the time's right, I’m also looking forward to going back to The Wellington. It’s my favourite pub in Birmingham, a proper old-man real-ale place that’s been there forever.