29 APRIL 1989, Page 40

High life

The uses of royalty


GNew York lenn Bernbaum is the benevolent owner of Mortimer's, a gracious host and a man known for having rescued many an upper-class Brit with a badly needed cash injection. Glenn is also an ardent monarch- ist who goes out of his way to entertain the odd royal who drops by his bistro during the New York season. Last month his royal connection finally paid off. One of the problems with running a chic watering-hole in the Big Bagel is the fact that the rich and trendy who are regulars easily get bored — not only with their wives and girlfriends, but also with their food. For this reason Glenn is always on the look-out for some new exotic dish, like the one he tasted only last month while in London and in the company of the desig- ner Bill Blass and John Bowes-Lyon, a cousin to the Queen Mother and close friend of Glenn's.

The trio had gone to a restaurant by the name of Caviar Kaspia, in the West End, Where they proceeded to dine in the style all three are accustomed to. Because Glenn pays attention to such things, he immediately wrote a note asking the mana- ger for the recipe of the borscht soup he Claimed was among the best he had ever tasted. After a long delay he received a rather snotty note demanding to know how he (Glenn) intended to feature the mana- ger's culinary expertise. Why, by giving credit where it's due, of course, swore Glenn, which meant it would be listed on the Mortimer's menu as 'Borscht Caspia' and clients such as Jerry Zipkin, Aleco Papamarkou, Susan Gutfreund, Judy Taubman, Carolyne Roehm and Nan Kempner would be advised that the soup could be had even when shopping in London.

That was the last Glenn heard of it, however. But being a plucky sort of chap, he pressed on. He wrote again and again, but to no avail. Then he remembered his royal connection and John Bowes-Lyon — Bosie to those of us who know him intimately — was dispatched to the West End. No sooner had Bosie graciously called upon the director of Caviar Kaspia than the recipe was being faxed over by the fastest machine available in the UK. As I Write this in the back room of Mortimer's, the recipe is being put to the test in the kitchen. Who ever said that royals are useless? Certainly not Glenn Bernbaum. And as I pointed out to him, not only did Bosie get immediate results, he's not even on the Civil List.

Mortimer's is for dinner, but after that the field is still led by Nell's, the only night-club still worth going out for. MK is Crowded, with no place to sit — there are a few chairs, c'est tout. Au Bar is beautifully decorated by Emily Todhunter, in fact it's a second Annabel's, but so full of stock- brokers that they ring a bell at the end of the evening in order to make them quit for the night. The latest 'in' place is a dump called Mars, and in all my years of night- crawling I have yet to hate a place so. It is FU n by a German who says things like 'Mars is a conceptual feeling', and it's Owned by some Japanese gentlemen. It is the first badly conceived Japanese crea- tion, and I fervently hope the last. Last week I went to Nell's twice, had a wonderful time both nights and then went and spoiled it all by attempting to enjoy myself at Mars. The place was so loud and so dark I ended up holding hands with a transvestite, which was again a first for me.