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FLASHING THE CASH IN THE CITY’S STRIP CLUBS

FANS of this column’s Bill of the Week feature are in for a treat this week, as a second receipt dropped onto The Capitalist’s desk yesterday that was simply too juicy to stay under wraps until Monday.

Feast your eyes on the gem to the right, which came from the Secrets table dancing club at Tower Bridge – where eleven City boys perked up their spirits last Thursday by blowing no less than £29,193 on some raunchy evening entertainment.

That breaks down at around £2,300 for the food (finest beluga caviar, fois gras and lobster, naturellement), £11,500 on bottles of Cristal (what else?), a couple of grand on service and a staggering £13,200 for the dancers (paid for in so-called “Secrets Money”, the club’s tokens which go towards girls dancing or keeping their customers company at the table).

If proof were needed that such pleasures of the flesh are officially back on the City menu, this is surely it.

FOODIE HEAVEN
Foodies in the City need to put a new destination on their to-visit list – Copenhagen, whose “Noma” restaurant was this week named as the best restaurant in the world in the prestigious S.Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants list.
Toppled off the top spot was Spain’s El Bulli, which has become a by-word for excellence and innovation in recent years and came second in this year’s list. Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray came in third.

In London, just two venues made the cut – St John in Smithfield and Mayfair’s Hibiscus.

Noma’s secret is a passion for cooking with the very best raw materials from the Nordic region, including deep-sea crabs and langoustines from the Faroe islands, cod, seaweed and curds from Iceland, and radishes in edible soil made from flour, melted butter and beer.

THICK AS THIEVES
Spotted wandering around Berkeley Square yesterday lunchtime: none other than Stuart Lane, the head of corporate finance at stockbroker Astaire, and Ewan Leggat, his counterpart over at investment bank Fairfax.

Headed towards the May Fair Bar, the pair seemed engrossed in a rather engaging conversation. Two old friends catching up over a drink or further fodder for the rumour mill, which has been in overdrive over the past few weeks with talk of a potential tie-up between precisely those two firms? Watch this space.

MEMORIAL SERVICE
A date for the diaries of all those who knew John Antcliffe, the late chief executive of City public relations firm Smithfield, who died suddenly and tragically after collapsing at work last month.

Smithfield is holding a memorial service to celebrate Antcliffe’s life on Wednesday 19 May at 5pm at the Holy Trinity Church on Prince Consort Road in Kensington, and afterwards at the nearby Royal Albert Hall.

COOKING UP A STORM
Will the shameless piggybacking off the election never end? We’ve had party leader-themed ice cream, beer, greyhound racing and now even Ikea kitchens, as the Swedish pre-pack furniture giant also jumps on the bandwagon with new “Kamerun”, “Kleggi” and “Brün” kitchen ranges. Roll on next Thursday, for Pete’s sake.

TEST OF FAITH
Speaking of bizarre marketing ploys, this has got to be one of the strangest tie-ups The Capitalist has ever heard of.

In zooms an email from betting firm Paddy Power, which has decided to target none other than the Catholic Church for its next PR stunt. Allow me to explain (though even then the rationale isn’t exactly crystal clear): Paddy has sponsored a confession box, of all things, in the St Etheldreda church in Newmarket, ahead of this weekend’s Guineas festival.

The £10,000 cost of the ploy will go towards financing an overhaul of the church, which is worthy enough. But the argument for sponsoring race-goers to confess their sins in the box before happily making their way for a day’s unrestrained gambling at the festival? Surely that’s against the ethics of the church?

“Our church has felt for a long time that we should have closer ties with the horse racing industry in Newmarket,” says the parish priest, Father Michael Griffin.

“Through the generosity of Paddy Power this is now starting to happen.”

What this horseracing lot wouldn’t do for a bit of publicity, eh?