Capriccio

"The long-standing eatery is becoming ever rarer in London. We say goodbye to this old favourite."

Every time I read a restaurant review I get a sinking feeling. Yet another exorbitantly expensive place serving prettified food for the expense account brigade has opened and six months later will be no more. The long-standing eatery is becoming ever rarer in London.

None of these observations applied to the recently closed Capriccio’s Restaurant in Temple Fortune. It had been going since 1959 and the décor was still stuck in a ‘sixties time warp with its burgundy red carpet, sweet trolley and textured swirly wallpaper. It even had a door handle with its’ phone number SPE 4432 engraved on the handle. The waiters were silently obsequious and seemed to have been there since the restaurant’s inception.

The food was a particular brand of generic suburban Italian with such favourites as osso bucco, veal Milanese with spaghetti and orange segments steeped in a sickly liqueur. The clientèle consisted almost entirely of elderly Jews or on Sunday taking their children and grandchildren for lunch.

Alas the march of time meant that the number of regular customers became less and less. It was not for nothing that it was commonly known as God’s waiting room. As for the food, it was never quite good enough. One wished that its longevity was founded on high gastronomic standards but it was simply familiarity. Maybe, in a world of anonymous suburban chains that sufficed. Now it is no more, its increasing emptiness putting paid to its survival, the end of another local landmark. Oh well!