My fully justified, highly enthusiastic review of The Giaconda Dining Room just off Tottenham Court Road, where Australian Paul Merrony, pictured here, is the only chef in a one-person kitchen, did end by saying that the viability of the business rested solely on his broad shoulders.
Fate has unfortunately intervened. Cycling home from work on Halloween after what he subsequently described as ‘a record week’, Merrony had an accident that has resulted in a broken right elbow. Fortunately, he is left-handed.
The restaurant has been closed since then. It will re-open later this week but only at lunchtime. He will be serving ‘a one armed chef menu’ with his partner Tracey, usually in charge of the restaurant, now his right arm in kitchen in the truest sense of the word. Paul and Tracey will cook a menu that includes three or four first courses, main courses for two to share such as paella, grilled fish and steaks, and a couple of desserts.
Merrony thinks that it will be like this for at least the next six weeks but he signed his last email to me in his usually upbeat fashion, ‘As ever onwards and upwards’.