Jeremy Hackett’s perfect weekend in London
I get up at 6.30am every day, a habit since my childhood paper-round, and the weekend is no exception. I live in a detached Georgian villa in Stockwell, which is down a lane and behind gates reclaimed from a former mental asylum. It’s a conservation area, so it is like living in the countryside, yet it’s just four stops to Green Park on the Tube.
I drive my Sussex spaniel, Muffin, to Battersea Park and after our walk I’ll grab some fresh bread from an Algerian shop called Andalucia. Once home, I make scrambled eggs, which my friends always compliment me on, but it’s the only thing I can cook. The secret is to take the pan off the heat halfway through.
I then visit Portobello Market. In the early 1980s, I came here for second-hand British clothes to sell from my little shop on the New King’s Road. I still pick up the odd unusual thing and give it to the design department for inspiration. I’ll follow this with a visit to Andrew Nebbett Antiques in Marylebone. He has a great eye for masculine furniture. A lot of what I buy goes into the shops, but recently I bought a deckchair for my house.
If I am meeting friends for lunch, we’ll go to a little pub called Grenadier in Knightsbridge. It used to be the Duke of Wellington’s officers’ mess, so naturally I’ll have the beef Wellington.
On Saturday afternoons, I like to visit our shops to get a snapshot on how they’re performing. Now that everything is online you have to work harder and make shopping more of an experience. We have a Beefeater bar in the new Regent Street shop, so I’ll do some consumer research propping up the bar with a G&T.
I’ll then walk over to Davidoff and pick up a cigar. I like a Hoyo de Monterrey No 2 because it is mild and draws slowly, and I’ll sit outside at nearby Franco’s, with a cup of coffee. There are always other people smoking cigars, so it’s very social.
Next I might go round the corner to DR Harris & Co. I love the old-fashioned pharmacy and the soap is rich and deeply engraved, which looks lovely. Then I’ll walk to Hatchards on Piccadilly. I recently bought the book Kennedy in Berlin: Photographs by Ulrich Mack. Kennedy was an excellent dresser; he wore his clothes, they didn’t wear him.
I like nothing better on a Saturday evening than going to my local restaurant, Metrogusto, with friends. The spaghetti Bolognese is excellent and I can take Muffin. After dinner, I answer emails. I only ever do this from home; I like to respond with time and thought.
Sunday mornings I’ll walk Muffin over to Clapham Common, where I stop at Fantasia to have poached eggs and a cup of builder’s tea. The rest of the day varies. Recently, I was invited to Highclere Castle, but my car broke down and I was 90 minutes late, so I’m not sure I’ll be asked again. It was wonderful to see the table laid like in Downton Abbey, though I’m loath to admit I’ve never seen a single episode.
Otherwise I might go to the Fox and Grapes pub in Wimbledon, where there are more dogs than customers, for roast beef and apple crumble. In the afternoon, I like to visit Tate Britain. I love Gilbert & George; their art is very English in its way.
On Sunday evenings, I often go for dinner at Brasserie Zédel and then to its cabaret and jazz club The Crazy Coqs. This is London’s best cabaret, where Ty Jeffries performs as his alter ego Miss Hope Springs. Marc Almond and Rula Lenska will often jump on stage, but strangely Ty has never invited me. I go to bed around 11pm and if the night is clear, I can hear the bells of Big Ben chiming from across the river.