London in the 80s, Lady Diana Spencer and the rise and rise of the Sloane Ranger. Well, social archaeologists, it is time to brush off your head bands and head for Foxtrot Oscar on Hospital Road in Chelsea where the tribe of Sloane is alive and well and enjoying two squares a day in their eminently likeable canteen.
I joined a group of friends there recently for lunch during the week. It was a hoot. The room and décor are nothing to write home about but the unpretentious, almost scruffy feel of the place is relaxing and club-like, as if it would be bad form to try too hard. The menu is full of English schoolboy favourites which the regulars have enjoyed eating since birth. Old menu stalwarts such as eggs benedict and hamburgers were really well prepared and reasonably priced. I read somewhere that even Gordon Ramsey, whose 3 star restaurant is nearby, can sometimes be found at Foxtrot Oscar enjoying a hamburger. Since we are on the topic of celebrities I should mention that everyone who has reviewed this restaurant, except me, seems to have been seated next to Prince William. It’s that kind of place. And even though, with our big broad American accents, we were obviously not members of the tribe, the service was friendly and welcoming. As I was sitting there with my girlfriends, it struck me that this was the absolutely perfect place to go for Sunday lunch, read the paper, nurse a wicked hangover and time travel.
Lots of visitors come to London in search of lost time. You can find them hanging around the “Old Curiosity Shop” near Lincoln Inns Fields and the crosswalk on Abbey Road. That’s all fine if you are chasing Dickens or the Beatles but if you harken back, as I often do, to a moment when the world’s attention was drawn to a young woman in wellies who worked in a kindergarden, you can recapture it all, plus eat a pretty good meal at a fair price at Foxtrot Oscar in Chelsea.
79 Royal Hospital Road
Tel: 0207 352 7179
Photo of the cover of the 1982 "Official Sloane Ranger Handbook"