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Ian Fleming birthday lunch held at Scott`s restaurant in London

02-Jul-2008 • Literary

“My favourite restaurant is Scott’s” - Ian once said to Herb Caen, columnist on the San Francisco Chronicle, as they left Scott’s restaurant: ‘See that window?’ he asked. ‘When James Bond is in London, he always lunches there, at the corner table – that’s so he can look down and watch the pretty girls walking past.’ - reports IanFlemingCentenary.com

To mark Fleming’s 100th birthday, it seemed only fitting that it should be celebrated at his favourite restaurant. Friends and family gathered to raise a glass, along with many of those involved with all things Ian Fleming, at Scott’s, London. Although, it is somewhat changed since the days when Ian wrote about his legendary secret agent eating ‘dressed crab and a pint of black velvet’ there, including a new location on Mount Street, the restaurant still holds much of the allure it must have had fifty years ago and it gave guests a great reception and truly delectable food.

Ian was known for his love of great English cooking; a taste he passed onto James Bond. Indeed, Bond claims, in Moonraker, that the ‘the best English cooking is the best in the world’, and so Ian’s birthday meal would have pleased him greatly - asparagus salad with quails eggs, followed by roast fillet of Highland beef (supplied by his great-niece, Rose Grimond) and finished with strawberry Romanoff. The food was delicious, there were murmurs of ‘the best steak ever’, and as the wine slipped down and chat filled the room, people seemed reluctant to leave and lunch stretched on well into the afternoon.

The lunch, which was hosted by Fleming’s nieces, Kate Grimond and Lucy Fleming, brought together a group of people who did not necessarily know each other despite one overarching common denominator – Ian and his legacy. The guests spanned the generations, from a war-time friend and colleague of Ian’s who is almost as old as he would be now to his great-nieces and nephews. Sebastian Faulks and Kate Westbrook represented a new generation of Bond writing while John Burningham, who illustrated so beautifully the first edition of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, came with his wife. Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson of Eon films took time out from working on the new film, Quantum of Solace, to attend and Sir Ken Adam, the famed set designer of many a Bond film was also able to come. Interspersed amongst these people were many members of Fleming’s family and many of the people who work so hard behind the scenes to continue to bring pleasure to so many through Bond and Chitty.

Kate Grimond gave a speech at the beginning of the lunch which summed up the essence of the day, and indeed, the year, and remembered Ian’s beloved wife Anne, and his son, Caspar. In finishing she read a small extract from an interview he gave at Goldeneye, the year before he died. He said:

‘I don’t want yachts, race-horses, or a Rolls Royce. I want my family and my friends and good health and to have a small treadmill with a temperature of eighty degrees in the shade and in the sea, to come to every year for two months. And to be able to work there and look at the flowers and birds and fish, and somehow to give pleasure, whether innocent or illicit, to people in their millions. Well, you can’t ask for more.’

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