It's a very civilised place, and there aren't many of those around these days. The restaurant manager, formerly of Claridge's, is extremely professional and gives the club the right discreet atmosphere. It has the feel of someone's home, albeit a rather grand one.
It has a very simple menu. It's clearly not going for a Michelin star, but the food is very good, in an English country-house style. The potted shrimps are very nice, as is the poached turbot with Bolognese, and the bangers and mash. It also has a hugely expensive wine list. The house Chablis and claret are very acceptable, but if you want to splash out, they have wines for over £1,000. That's not something I have ever done.
I have a very fond memory of going there for my 40th birthday, with a very good Spanish friend of mine and two women. As we left, my friend said of one of them: 'That's the girl you're going to marry'. I hadn't given it even the slightest thought. True enough, we were married a year later.
Meeting over lunch creates a particularly relaxed atmosphere, so I use lunch for getting to know new contacts, rather than nitty-gritty business discussion. The acoustics at Mark's make it easy to concentrate, even when it's busy. But it's not solely a business place. You can go there in the evening and it's not an all-male environment like a lot of business-based clubs, so it's a good place to take women. My wife is very fond of going there.
MARK'S CLUB 46 Charles Street, London W1, 020 7499 2936 (New members must be proposed and seconded) Average price (three courses) £32 per head FAVOURITE DISHES Potted shrimp £12 Poached turbot with Bolognese £28
- Sir Rocco Forte is chairman and CEO of Rocco Forte Hotels.