PIPPA MIDDLETON JOINS BANKERS AT MAHIKI DUO’S LOW-KEY LAUNCH

PIPPA Middleton is out and about again after splitting from her boyfriend Alex Loudon, an analyst at brewing giant SAB Miller.

And one of the first places Middleton has patronised in her newly single life is the Markham Inn on Elystan Street, the latest restaurant venture from Mahiki owners Nick House and Piers Adam that is gaining a following among the bankers and hedge fund managers of Chelsea.

House was too discreet to say if Middleton has dined with her friend Tom Kingston, who until recently worked at Schroders – “I can’t possibly comment” – but actress Kate Hudson has paid a visit, as has model Eva Herzigova and Princess Eugenie.

The Markham Inn, in which supermodel Kate Moss’s manager Sarah Doukas holds a stake, opened to no publicity as a “low-key” contrast to House and Adams’ other ventures, which include the celebrity-filled Whisky Mist and the Punchbowl. “We wanted the menu to speak for itself,” House told The Capitalist. “It is good quality food at low prices.”

Meanwhile, over in Mayfair, Nick House Entertainment will formally open The Rose Club on Monday, following a handful of private parties for the likes of Next Models.

Designed to resemble “a beautifully mirrored music box”, the venue is named after both its location on Orchard Street, House’s Dutch model girlfriend Rose, and the rose-planted roof garden that will open in time for the summer.

LAUGHING STOCK
COMEDIAN Stephen K Amos was meant to be entertaining the miners, energy bankers and lawyers at the Mines and Money awards at the HAC Artillery Garden on Wednesday night.

But he found far more amusement in the shortlist for the country that has shown “the most improvement, in terms of attractiveness to mineral investors” over the last year.

Amos started chuckling at Afghanistan, where “a major effort is underway to attract mining” according to the nomination, and was struggling to control himself by the time he reached Norway, where the government has announced “a positive new mining strategy”.

“Let’s have a big hand to Stephen for getting through that,” said Damien Hackett, head of research at category sponsor Canaccord Genuity, as he eventually presented the award to Liberia. Luckily, Fortescue Metals Group’s founder and chairman Andrew Forrest (pictured below on the left with Standard Bank’s director of mining and metals Vaughn Wickens) also saw the funny side, thanking Amos for his lighthearted attitude to mining as he collected his lifetime achievement award.

After all that excitement, it was time to continue the party at Raffles in Chelsea, where GMP Securities’ guests drifted out in the early hours.

PROPERTY PRICES
TO THE Dorchester for the fourteenth Movers and Shakers property dinner, the annual fundraiser for the industry’s biggest names in aid of their charity LandAid.

On the top table was Mike Slade, chief executive of Helical Bar and president of youth charity LandAid; Liz Peace, CEO of the British Property Federation; GVA Grimley boss Rob Bould; Kier MD Ian Lawson; and Rider Levett Bucknall CEO Lance Taylor.

But the main draw at the sold-out event was Fat Bob, the customised Harley Davidson donated with the support of James Caan and his private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw.

Top of the leaderboard in the race to secure the keys for the 2010 FXDF Dyna as the guests sat down to dinner was Nick Jacobs of Rowan Asset Management – but he was later gazumped as Caan encouraged rival property executives in the evening’s bidding war.

No word on who that mystery man was – he was “very shy and unforthcoming”, said Slade (above) – but he paid £18,500 to help the total raised for LandAid hit a record £37,500.

RECORD TRADE
ON THE subject of record fundraising, new financial futures head Gary Pettit’s 70s disco – not to mention the commission on the Duchess of Cornwall’s $27bn (£17.3bn) forex trade between Barclays and Citigroup – helped ICAP’s charity trading day on Wednesday ring up £12.75m for good causes, up from £12.1m last year.

An “incredible achievement in these difficult times”, said group chief executive Michael Spencer.

PEACE AND QUIET
VETERAN City broker Graeme Cull will hand in his train ticket and hang up his red braces this evening, when he retires from the City after four years commuting from Stafford to London as head of corporate broking at Merchant Securities.

Over his 40 years at Barclays, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Arden Partners and Old Mutual Securities, the firm he helped set up by bringing Albert E Sharp and Greig Middleton together, Cull’s high-profile deals included the flotations of Orange, Norwich Union, Powergen and oil and gas explorer Rockhopper.

From tomorrow, the 59-year-old hopes to trade his decades of deal-making for settling down to a “quieter” life of non-executive directorships.

Although his five-year-old twins may have something to say about that...