Celebrity spotting has fast become the opium of the people. News of that plonker from N Dubs' appearance at a Ryman's outlet will move across Twitter faster than Michelle McManus at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Although there's something very grounding about the idea that residents of celebsville may actually lead some semblance of a real life and not swing continuously (via chauffeured pink limo) from awards ceremony to WH Smith book-signing. So where do these people lead their quotidian existences? Where do they shop for groceries? Where do they fill up their cars? … And where do they eat? Well, we're about to tell you.
We've compiled a list of restaurants that give you the best chance of running into a fully-fledged celeb. Imagine that… you're just reaching for the last piece of garlic bread and low and behold, sat adjacent to you is a cast member of Emmerdale. There is a God. Dingle be thy name.
AIL Says: Mega-opulent Gilgamesh is popular with wags and starlets - you’re also likely to spot members of pop groups like Girls Aloud and JLS, Lisa Snowdon, Emma Bunton and other stars of that ilk. On one occasion TV chef Gino D’Acampo threw a wobbly when he wasn’t allowed to sit in a closed-off section of the restaurant. They’re a highly strung bunch, those Z-list celebs.
OUR REVIEW 7/10
The Wolseley 160 Piccadilly W1J 9EB Region: Mayfair Nearest Station: Green Park
AIL Says: London’s premier grand café attracts actors, pop stars and politicians alike; recent sightings have included Daniel Radcliffe, Sienna Miller, Victoria Beckham, Jamie Hince and Kate Moss. Then again, is there anywhere la Moss isn’t spotted?
OUR REVIEW 8/10
The Ivy 1-5 West Street WC2H 9NE Region: Covent Garden Nearest Station: Leicester Square (0.1 miles)
AIL Says: It opened in 1916 in the heart of Theatreland, and has been hosting celebrities pretty much ever since. From Laurence Olivier and Marlene Dietrich to Kate Moss and Brad Pitt today, it’s remarkable that its status as a celeb favourite hasn’t waned.
AIL Says: J Sheekey is prime A-list territory. Madonna, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Ewan McGregor, Kylie Minogue… the list is endless. Owned by the same company as The Ivy and Le Caprice, who certainly know their target market.
AIL Says: If you want to spy on the VIPs, head to Locanda Locatelli, a favourite with Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and a whole host of supermodels, Hollywood stars and super-famous pop singers.
Roka 37 Charlotte Street W1T 1RR Region: Fitzrovia Nearest Station: Goodge Street (0.1 miles)
AIL Says: A favourite with Soho’s media community as well as celebland, Brangelina have been spotted here, as well as Jennifer Lopez, Mary J Blige, and assorted boy/girlband members.
China Tang 53 Park Lane W1K 1QA Region: Mayfair Nearest Station: Hyde Park Corner (0.3 miles)
AIL Says: China Tang at The Dorchester Hotel is owned by a man as flamboyant as his customers, many of whom he counts as personal friends. Kate Moss had business dinners with Topshop boss Philip Green here and Naomi Campbell chose the venue to celebrate her birthday, however in 2009 the restaurant came under fire for serving shark fin soup, prompting former devotees Elle McPherson and Trudie Styler to join a boycott.
34 Mayfair 34 Grosvenor Square W1K 2HD Region: Mayfair Nearest Station: Bond Street (0.2 miles)
AIL Says: Originally a meat-centric restaurant, 34 have incorporated fish and seafood to their menu of grilled steaks, game and Wagyu beef. Owned by the same people as J Sheekey and the Ivy, 34 was always set to become a celeb haunt; moreover Kate Moss celebrated her 40th birthday here with a long boozy lunch.
AIL Says: This Japanese eatery is popular with the Beckhams, Beyonce and Jay Z, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Jordan, Kate Hudson and Nancy Dell’Olio. Gwen Stefani even went as far as naming her second child after the restaurant.