Breaking up is so very hard to do, but that’s exactly what the Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin finds herself doing when she visits the succinctly named Marco Pierre White Wheeler’s of St James’ Rib Room & Oyster Bar in the Threadneedles Hotel.
“The food ranges from vaguely edible to Harvester. Chips aren’t triple-cooked as billed; onion rings ooze with oil. The better end of the spectrum is represented by Baltic herrings with golden beetroot, sweetly acidulated carrots carved into flower shapes and horseradish cream (“fresh” horseradish? Hmm). There’s a fine, blushing veal chop, daftly crisscrossed from the grill and with too many baked baby vine tomatoes and a posy of leaves. But there’s also a criminal kedgeree, fashioned into a bunker of musty, overcooked, over-turmericked rice and topped with flakes of salmon – more geometric grill marks – and so many quail’s eggs I fear for the bird’s nether regions.
“Marco, Marco” she continues later. “I’ve stuck by you, despite your many indiscretions: reality TV exhibitionism, stock cube fetishes, even your frankly sleazy coupling with Bernard Matthews. A man has to make a living, feed his family, pay for expensive and complicated divorces. But this sausage factory of mediocrity has done it for me. There’s only so much even the most devoted woman can take. I’ve stopped caring about you. This time, it’s over.”