MT Business Travel: Table Talk - Where Rocco Forte eats ...

I've long been a visitor to Mark's Club, in Charles Street, central London. I heard about it when it opened, around 1974, when I was a member of Annabel's - another club run by Mark Birley.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

35 Women Under 35 2020: Nominations open

Management Today's 35 Women Under 35 showcases the country's rising stars in business. Here's how...

Practical steps for breaking silos

Briefing: Adam Williams, former CEO of influencer marketing agency Takumi, shares what he learned about...

The Power 50: Proof that you can be a part-time CEO

Just a few years ago, executives were reluctant to admit they worked part-time for fear...

The 9 worst things a leader can say

Actions may speak louder than words, but words can still drop you in it.

Why you overvalue your own ideas

And why you shouldn't.

When spying on your staff backfires

As Barclays' recently-scrapped tracking software shows, snooping on your colleagues is never a good idea....