Today there are reservations for lunch at the Rex Whistler. Somehow, and for undisclosed reasons, numbers are tracked by their computer and it was announced that this would be my fiftieth. Now that his pretty incredible, particularly when one considers that I an not a resident of this fair city at the present moment and visit only once a year since I was forced to leave when my student visa expired in March of 2017.
I have loved the Rex for some time and once wrote the following, beautifully entitled:
AN ODE TO THE REX WHISTLER RESTAURANT
BY LADY ALEXIS
I sit in the oasis of this restaurant where I find graciousness, peace, courtesy AND excellent food. The surroundings are perfect, the wonderful mural adorning the walls, the spaciousness that allows a quiet hub of conversation without the artificiality of music. The only discordant feature is the banal conversation of the neighboring table.
This idyllic scene is enhanced by the swift and sure efficiency of the staff. Their courtesy toward one another and the patrons (necessarily less important) is a joy to behold. They wind their way around the tables, their movements like a dance, almost a ballet.
There are no class distinctions here, every person is treated with the utmost of respect. When (not if) I arrive righteously at the Lord and Ladies Table I will be treated no differently than I am now, nor will be the lesser beings that surround me.
Yea though i walk through the valley of boredom (my neighbors again) I shall fear no banality for thine Mathew is with me. His rod and his staff shall comfort me. (well maybe not).
Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of my sometimes less than interesting table mates, my cup runneth over…well not quite as the pourer’s aim is accurate and swift. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dine in the Rex Whistler forever – or at least until the limit on my credit card is reached.
It is difficult to discern when this was written but it was prior to my forced eviction from this country. It was written with pen and paper while dining at the restaurant, not afterwards on the computer – that is recalled.
I left for Vancouver and tried to initiate a form of fine dining at the Mott 32 Restaurant but met with utter failure. There was pandemonium reigned supreme, my tempered requests were met with disdain. I see now the futility of it all as it is, after all, a Hong Kong chain of restaurants. I did meet the owner of the chain and one fateful night was provided with a tasting of all new drinks that were to be added to the menu. Thank goodness I was a resident at the hotel and there is not a DUI for intoxicated elevator riding.
Eventually I left the Trump International Hotel and ceased all dining at the restaurant, for various and sundry reasons which may be explored later.
I returned to London for visits in December of 2017 and December of 2018 and it was mandatory that I return to the Rex Whistler for their delicious repasts, managing attendance at one of their unforgettable Winemaker’s dinners for example.
So it was back again this year with an advanced warning and reservation. Matthew, the big boss person, returned the reservation request using the following language.
He: Your Majesty. We await your arrival with bated breath.
Me: Most probably bad breath but I remain your Queen.
This year, yet again I took paper and pen to hand and wrote, what Carlos called, a love letter. Here it is – it was read to Staff and I copy it with permission. The hand written epistle was photographed and copied to this format.
LOVE LETTER TO THE REX WHISTLER
I am back. I was last at this restaurant almost a year ago. I sat within the warmth that surrounded me and realized that I MUST change my life. Vancouver, where I lived was horrid.
Then, magically, within two days a solution appeared. An invitation at Sotheby’s ensured another student visa – so back to London Town I would come! But common sense (and the need for knee surgery) intervened Instead I left hated Vancouver and went back to California (actually San Francisco) to live on March 31, 2017.
It has been a horrid year but my surgery is completed and I have a marvelous new right knee. I am celebrating my recovery by coming to London.
I do my best thinking in two places: 1) The Rex Whistler 2) A bath tub with bubbles. In one I am nude, in the other not. I hope I continue to differentiate between the two. (hahahaha)
I return to San Francisco kicking and screaming on November 20, 2019. But in the words of General McArthur: I SHALL RETURN. My life is most bizarre, For the gory details either read the blog or Google Alix Residences, a proposed incredible development in Malaysia.
Google also Brazenly Authentic (who is that, except me???)
With so much love, Alexis
Post Script. In the words of Beckett: “I can’t go on. You must go on. I will go on!”
With your help I shall go on.
So how strange and unusual for a person to be so attached to a restaurant and its people. But it is an absolutely beautiful restaurant, staffed by beautiful people (and Matthew, hahaha gotcha).
The conclusion to the Introduction of the Tate Book contains these words: “ This book rescued me from helplessness and despair, loneliness and alienation. My creative juices were dried up. I was barren. Now I have a fertile mind, more so than ever before. I would like to thank the artists that painted, the Tate that collected, Chris, Jessica, my friends at the Rex Whistler and Lynne. I weep as I write, but not tears of sorrow.”
The Rex Whistler played an incredibly pivotal role in the book and in my life and shall continue to do so.
The photographs are of the food and wine, served and consumed on a recent visit. The dish is the grouse, the most divine ever tasted. The pairings of the wine superb. Amidst all of this posh Matthew and I have a running commentary of jokes, some to be shared in a subsequent blog.