Making a meal of design
On arrival for dinner at London's latest statement in radical restaurant design, the maitre d' is hat-in-hand apologetic.
"I'm sorry, sir," he says, "but I can't take your coat as the architect is still designing the cloakroom."
The tardy architect in question is Zaha Hadid, the Pritzker Prize-winning Anglo-Iraqi designer of the 2012 London Olympics Aquatics Centre and an ever expanding portfolio of stunningly imaginative buildings.
The restaurant, The Magazine, which resembles a contorted albino escargot, is size-wise, one of Hadid's more modest creations.
In her first restaurant space and her first building in central London, Hadid's ultra-modern building is attached to the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery, in a former 19th century gunpowder store, in Kensington Gardens, a short stroll from the main Serpentine Gallery itself.
Under the undulating fibreglass membrane roof with its tree-trunk shaped white internal supporting columns, Berlin-born chef Oliver Lange serves Japanese-inspired Euro dishes, such as robata-grilled freshwater eel, duck liver terrine, apple and brioche and Black Angus beef fillet with sweet potato, Swiss chard and edamame.
Although it means you miss out on a visit to the Serpentine, which closes at 6pm, the best time to dine at The Magazine is probably by night when it is spectacularly lit.
And, by the time you secure a booking, the maitre d' will hopefully no longer need to be hung up about that non-existent cloakroom.