My London: Michel Roux Jr
South London. When I first moved with my parents in 1967 it was Tooting, so I grew up there and had regular visits to Tooting Broadway Market and St George’s Hospital — I had my appendix and tonsils out there. I moved to Clapham later on and have lived there for 40 years with my darling wife. It’s always been the south of London. I get a nosebleed if I go north!
Best meal you’ve had?
One of the most brilliant meals that I’ve had recently was at Endo at the Rotunda, White City, a Japanese restaurant. One particular dish on my last visit moved me practically to tears, it was that good. It was just one mouthful, a warm oyster on rice with a particular seasoning, and it was just heavenly, perfection.
What shops do you rely on?
Moens the butcher, a family-run business that’s been there for as long as I can remember, just off Clapham Common. Obviously they have great meat, but they also have a great cheese counter and do lots of stocks and sauces. And then Moxon’s the fishmonger, which is on the other side of the common. It’s restaurant-quality fish. You should see the queues out there on a Friday and Saturday, it’s unbelievable.
Where in London would you most like to be buried?
I want my ashes to be sprinkled in the Thames — it can’t be any dirtier. With the amount of sewage that the water companies are allowing into our rivers, a few more ashes won’t make a difference.
Who is the most iconic Londoner?
Ian Dury. My teenage years were punk and I used to love that era. In fact, it’s still the kind of music that I listen to often — punk and heavy rock or heavy metal. But when I was in my teens I loved listening to Ian Dury: the LP New Boots and Panties!! was one of the first that I bought as a teenager and I still listen to it now. The lyrics are fabulous.
What’s the best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?
I am yet to meet a taxi driver that is not a foodie. They love their grub. You can talk to a taxi driver anywhere in the world and they’ve got stories about food — about what they’ve cooked, what they had for lunch. So this would be my tip: if you don’t know where to eat, say you’ve landed in Kuala Lumpur and you’ve taken a taxi to the hotel, ask him, ‘Where’s the best place to eat in town?’ and they will tell you, because they know. Trust them, they know.
Have you ever had a run-in with a London police officer?
I’ve never had a run-in with a cop, but I’ve had a few run-ins with stewards in football stadiums. I nearly got kicked out of Chelsea. I’m a Manchester United supporter and I think most people reading that will go, ‘Oh yeah, typical Man United supporter, living in London,’ but I’ve supported them since 1976. So I was at the Chelsea end at a game, and Man United scored and I got up, I couldn’t help myself. And within seconds a steward came up to me and said, ‘If you don’t shut up you’re out of here.’ And the same thing happened at Tottenham!
Who do you call when you want to have fun?
My old mate Greg [Wallace]. We go back a long, long way — I knew Greg when he had hair. He used to send fruit and veg to Le Gavroche when he had his business in Covent Garden. Greg is fabulous — he always has a joke to tell and is such a bubbly, positive person. When I want a giggle, I call him.
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