John’s Birthday Treat

I am not one to rave on about restaurants – best to leave that to the biting wits of A A Gill et al but I really wanted to flag this special birthday evening up as it turned out to be a huge success. I must also (modestly!) note that I had cut out something from the paper about this new restaurant about a year previously and given it to Hania. Both girls are the put upon recipients of articles I cut relentlessly from various places that I think may be of interest! It is in my nature to find things out and they gracefully accept my offerings – sometimes with enthusiasm. In this case, Gaia had suggested we go to Bruno Loubet’s bistrot and I was delighted to have a chance to try it out.
Many years ago John used to work in Bowling Green Lane in Clerkenwell and the restaurant is not far away from here. We decided to walk there from Holborn as I’m not very ‘au fait’ with the whole area and I wanted to connect it up with bits I did know, like Farringdon and Exmouth Market. John soon began to recognise it all and Gaia was waiting for us in St. John’s Square, just off the Clerkenwell Road.
We were in for a great treat and I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant as soon as we walked in. It’s said that when you meet somebody new you make up your mind about them in the first few seconds as to whether you will get on with them – or not. That is, if you are a person who works on instinct. I felt like that about Zetters – I immediately felt welcomed, that they were pleased to see us and not just as customers …
I’m not going to discuss the dinner in detail, which was wonderful, or the service, which was a mix of professional and warmly personal. You have to try it for yourself. However, we all started with a delicious aperitif – one of Bruno’s infusions. We chose Provence, which consisted of lemon/orange/lavender and rosemary served with vermouth and bitter lemon. The glasses arrived with two stems of lavender in each. Conjuring up images of Cézanne, Bonnard, Van Gogh, lavender fields and sun scorched hills. And those silent, sun steeped afternoons, the Dentelles de Montmirail etching a filigree lacy limestone edge against the brilliant blue of the sky. We imbibed the essence of Provence. Then I ate the lavender stems.
You can buy salt infused with lavender – I can imagine it would be good with ‘agneau salé’, lamb that lives in the Camargue. Provence is a land of plenty with some very good wines.
Above the restaurant, there are bedrooms and also another Georgian townhouse near at hand, which offer accommodation. Quite expensive but I am sure there are ‘offers’ from time to time. The interesting thing is that when the hotel side of things was being built, sustainability and environmental awareness were high on the agenda. Zetters (the name of the hotel/restaurant) is a founder member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which supports restaurants in their quest to purchase from sustainable and local suppliers as well as advising on waste reduction. There continues to be a Green Team monthly meeting.
They also have their own borehole for clean water and have used environmentally sensitive building materials. The whole building is controlled by an intelligent building management system re the use of electricity which is recycled in some complex way. And the lights go off as they see you leaving the room.
There’s an inviting cocktail bar too!
This is a special place and a great treat.
Nightlights in Clerkenwell ...Nightlights in Clerkenwell …

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