Royal birthday party at Pizza Express, sir? No sweat
What a weekend. Prince Andrew discussed his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on Newsnight with Emily Maitlis, and dragged the Woking branch of Pizza Express into what is best described as a roiling boil of public relations quicksand. Between omitting to display any compassion for Epstein’s victims and refusing to condemn his relationship with him, it did not go well.
Andrew used a pizza party with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, as an alibi for the allegation that he had sex with 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre on 10 March 2001, claiming that “I’ve only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly.” The internet reacted in the only two ways possible: extreme scepticism, and leaving a ton of parody reviews on Pizza Express Woking’s Google listing. The reviews are now lost to the aether, but choice fossils focussed on Andrew’s refutation of the allegation that he was “sweating profusely” at Tramps’ nightclub when allegedly dancing with Giuffre:
Thoroughly enjoyed my American pizza on a balmy Spring evening in 2001. Only negative was that the air con was broken and after a while it started to become very hot and stuffy. ‘There only seemed to be one man there not breaking out into a sweat, which he claimed was because of an overdose of adrenaline. Overall, I had a fantastic meal and would recommend. Why go anywhere else (i.e. Tramps in London) when you could go here and be treated like Royalty by the fantastic staff?
Love this place. I had a cracking pizza here in 2001. I remember it was 2001 because it was very strange the guy next to me had an American Hot pizza with extra chillies… not a drop of sweat came off him. Very odd.
The revelation immediately puts Pizza Express top of the “Infamous Chain Restaurants” ranking, displacing the branch of Zizzi in Salisbury at the centre of March 2018’s novichok poisoning. It also puts Pizza Express’ colossal debt out of the spotlight, even if the chain might have appreciated some more benign news. More pressingly: how long before a spicy, special pizza named for the Prince goes on the menu? It’s now or literally never. [Guardian]
What’s most striking about this #PrinceAndrew interview is the complete lack of any hint of revulsion at the idea of middle aged men having sex with trafficked teenagers. He’s more repulsed by the idea that he was once in Pizza Express in Woking— Jennifer O'Connell (@jenoconnell) November 16, 2019
Just drafting a Defence Statement for a trial:— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) November 17, 2019
◾️The Defendant does not recall meeting the complainant
◾️The Defendant was with the co-accused because of convenience & honour
◾️The Defendant will rely upon alibi namely Pizza Express Woking
◾️The Defendant cannot sweat
"You should try Pizza Express in Woking.....it's unforgettable" pic.twitter.com/cVpnjeIs8k— Captain Kidd (@kidd__kong78) November 16, 2019
And in other news...
- Declaring a “whole new era” for the city’s restaurants is a mighty statement. For Grace Dent, Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ Decimo at The Standard London in King’s Cross fits the bill, with its “vast, slick, multi-levelled, painstakingly designed” dining room and “slightly ridiculous” — but often “delicious” — food making for the dining equivalent of “make it new.” Read the full round-up of this week’s London restaurant reviews.
- Mayfair restaurant-turned-restaurant incubator 10 Heddon Street’s first incumbent was 10 Heddon Street: pasta maestro Chris Leach and Smokestak restaurateur David Carter’s much-hyped contribution to London’s fresh pasta scene. The project was initially slated as Manteca, to open in Dalston, and now half of that is coming true, as Manteca moves on to Great Marlborough Street in Soho, to open 21 November. Australian chef Shaun Presland’s Pacific is next through the revolving door in Mayfair, and he joins Carter and Leach in seeking a permanent space once the residency is over. London’s first self-conscious restaurant investment shop window is here: how might it evolve?
- Lauded Singaporean restaurant brand Old Chang Kee will brings its flaky, savoury curry puffs to Goodge Street, taking over from Mexican chain Benito’s Hat. [Propel]
- Good tweet: