NEW YORK FOLLOWED BY MOSCOW FOLLOWED BY DUBAI. THEN I SHOULD CALM DOWN FOR THE RITZ OPENING
IL PELLICANO : COLIN FIELD
Why am I in love with « Il Pellicano ». Is it for the glorious view from the almost island of Porto Ercole ? Or is it that sublime cooking experienced in both Restaurants whilst brushing shoulders with some of the most beautiful, successful and interesting people on earth ?
The amazing Bellinis served by Federico Morosi, the Head bartender ? The swimming pool looking out onto the yachts of millionares that take a zodiac just to enjoy lunch in the grill ?
The service of the personnel in general. Yes, perhaps that seems to me one of the most important contributors to the magic that I experience there.
Claire in the Kitchen, Antonio or Federico too, Ginevra flowing gracefully through the hotel making sure that everything is perfect for everyone, the golden smiles of Georgia, thier enthousiasme for what they do. The marvellous sense of coolness coming from Marie Louise, a volcano errupting would barely worry her whilst she would calmly find a solution.
You see 'Il Pellicano ' does'nt need thousands of tons of marble, huge water fountains and a frightened personnel worried that you might ask for something whilst they recite quitely in thier minds « the standards » to be ready for the next test. The personnel love you, the answer is YES, yes to anything you want, they are almost sorry that you had to ask, they feel that they should have telepathically understood that you wanted a Club sandwich with frites and a pink Bellini by the pool.
The restaurant is always full in the evening. The Head waiter will take your order according to your whims rather than what is on the menu. Your choices will be enhanced by the very knowledgeable Lucia, a sommelier with a smile that matches her passion.
I spent a week with Antonio Guida in this Two Star Michelin Restaurant. We put together a menu of 6 dishes with 6 cocktails in perfect harmony, served in wine glasses. All in all, I think that we did about 30 special menus which is more than enough to plant a seed of reflexion.
Later in the evening the bar and its marvellous Terrasse become excitingly full. People enjoy Martinis whilst one tenth of the the sun barely floats above the sea. The lounge is full with Counts and Countesses, some of the richest people in the world. They are all talking together, they know each other you see.
Young men try new cocktails and share them with thier charming companions. They talk about the latest problems with the Aston Martin they bought last year, recommending me to buy a Land Rover 90 before they stop production in 2015. Marvellously tanned Counts are asking me how on earth I could make such a delicious cocktail and are ordering a few for the people around them.
Marie Therese, an iconic Chef de Rang, comes through from the Restaurant and a lady from one of the tables that she served this evening puts her arm around her and thanks her again for the splendid meal. Ferderico, the Head bartender, leaves for a moment the daughter of a famous English banker and asks me if I could prepare two little cocktails, « just to taste » for the young people that have just arrived.
In the morning there is the bar by the sea. There Michael and the 17 year old Ferdinando, from a top hotel school, will serve you delicious lemonades with rosmary and strawberries whilst you enjoy Croissants and pains aux chocolat with coffee served from a silver pot.
I can only think of the last night with a warm smile on my face as I relive the cocktail around the pool. Serenipities and Lemoncello with Prosecco was ravished by a host of perfectly dressed Gentlemen and beautifully attired ladies, with a beautiful yacht just seemingly 100 yards away offering a perfect setting from the sea.
There was one young lady, whom I shall never forget, an artist that was more beautiful than any of her subjects could ever be. A certain distance and enticing absence covered by the most incredible dress and 20's hat. I'm sure that she must of escaped from one of Gatsby s parties, just for that evening. I made her cocktails and I was happy. I will call her Zelda.
Finally, the personnel offered me a party of parties, They had personally reserved a restaurant bar and rented a DJ. They made me a cake that had the image of one of the pages of my first book.
We ate mini pizzas, drank Champagne, smoked cigars and danced. Georgia was fun and Oana showed us how one should really danse.
Now you know why I love Il Pellicano.