WHEN I GO out to eat I'm not there for show, I'm there to enjoy myself. I do not share the universal admiration for French cooking, and I loathe eating spaghetti in public. I'm afraid I cut it up, and I don't care. I also like to mop up juices with a bit of bread. I'll chase fried eggs around a plate with a crust quite happily.
One of the best meals I ever had was a very relaxed fondue on holiday in Singapore. My friends and I alternated between Chinese and British restaurants, when someone suggested a Swiss restaurant called Le Chalet, which we all thought very funny. We had a great meal of mixed fondues with sizzling beef and vegetables. It was the perfect way for six friends to have a meal - in the end we didn't want to leave.
I'm very sociable, and that's why I like a good Chinese meal. Kym's (70 Wilton Road, SW1, 0171 630 0523) does a lovely crispy, aromatic duck. I always have it when I go there - they scarcely bother to take my order any more. It's a genuine Chinese restaurant, not mass-produced like so many. The food is lovingly prepared, which makes such a difference. I can't stand it when food is just plain indifferent. Kym's is also an excellent place to neutralise journalists. If you're all dipping into communal dishes it makes it a bit harder for them to write anything bad about you afterwards. I still mourn the loss of Winston's on Coptic Street, an English restaurant that served things like steak and chops. The walls were covered with Churchill memorabilia and it was a good place to take overseas visitors.
The best place for breakfast is Simpson's (The Strand, WC2, 0171 836 9112). It's very traditional and you can have a full or light English breakfast. The tables are spaced out, which is one of the first things I look for in a restaurant. I hate crowded tables and firmly believe that people want to have a conversation without having to tune into others' as well. Though I could be in a minority, as I know many people go out specifically to tune into other peoples' conversations.