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FRESH LEASE OF LIFE FOR EX-LLOYDS BANKING LAIR

HIP hip, hooray; there&rsquo;s a new flash drinking hole in town. Actually, they don&rsquo;t come much flasher than the new Green&rsquo;s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, which is situated in the grand confines of the old Lloyds banking hall on Cornhill.<br /><br />Simon Parker Bowles, one-time brother-in-law to Camilla and the owner of the original Green&rsquo;s of Mayfair, has teamed up with ex-De Vere chairman Lord Daresbury and Vestey Group chairman Lord Vestey in the new venture, and English Heritage has been all over the project like a rash.<br /><br />All the original features, you see, are still there in all their glory, from the grilles of the old banking counters to the stately pillars, and even the black horse mosaic set into the floor.<br /><br />Yet despite the list of illustrious guests who attended the restaurant&rsquo;s opening party last night &ndash; including diminutive comedian Ronnie Corbett, presenter Holly Willoughby and designer PPQ, as well as business grandees including JP Morgan Cazenove senior partner David Mayhew, Whitehead Mann partner Oliver Pawle and Cenkos founder Andy Stewart &ndash; there were no Lloyds representatives in sight.<br /><br />&ldquo;Yes, perhaps we should have invited Sir Victor Blank, in retrospect,&rdquo; chuckled Daresbury. &ldquo;He could&rsquo;ve admired what we&rsquo;ve done with the place.&rdquo;<br />Let us hope the restaurant will make more money than Lloyds has been doing lately, at any rate.<br /><br /><strong>PIANO PRODIGY</strong><br />Parker Bowles, incidentally, had roped in another famous relative to provide the entertainment at last night&rsquo;s party &ndash; namely his nephew, the pianist Derek Paravicini.<br /><br />Paravicini&rsquo;s stunning recital came despite the fact he is both blind and brain-damaged, due to his premature birth and an excess of oxygen in the oxygen tent in which he was placed afterwards as a baby. Yet the musical prodigy can remember any tune he has ever heard in his life and can play it on the piano absolutely note-perfect. Puts the rest of us to shame really, doesn&rsquo;t it?<br /><br /><strong>SLIMY STUFF</strong><br />If any of you are upset to have missed the champagne, oysters and canap&eacute;s at yesterday&rsquo;s party, there&rsquo;s more fun to come today at Green&rsquo;s, which is hosting this year&rsquo;s Tabasco British Oyster Opening Championships this very afternoon.<br /><br />A number of chefs, foodies and other skilled amateurs (although not Ronnie Corbett, who was rumoured to have bagged himself a place as well) are descending upon the restaurant to win the coveted title, which (I&rsquo;m told) involves a test of both speed and precision at scooping the cold, slimy little blighters out of their shells. Ick.