The Independent London Newspaper

Letters

Top billing for cafe that featured in films including Brighton Rock and Layer Cake

Claudia Perotti at the Regency Cafe, a popular venue for regulars and film directors

Published: 29 March, 2013
By WILLIAM McLENNAN

A WESTMINSTER café that has featured in a string of British movies has been ranked as one of the best restaurants in the country after picking up a cult following.

Regency Cafe, on the corner of Page Street in Pimlico, has been the setting for scenes in movies including Layer Cake, starring Daniel Craig, and the 2010 remake of Brighton Rock starring Sam Riley.

It was recently placed in the top five restaurants in Britain in a customer-ratings poll compiled for the Wall Street Journal by listings website Yelp.

The greasy-spoon café has since been compared to some of the most exclusive eateries in London – including the double Michelin-starred Ledbury in Notting Hill and triple-Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea – which were also picked out by dinners.

But the Regency, which has been owned by the same two families for 27 years, was placed on the “less expensive” list alongside the critically acclaimed pizzeria Franco Manca.

Claudia Perotti and her business partner Marco Schiavetta took over from their Italian fathers Antonio and Gino who bought the café from a family friend who had opened it in 1946.

Ms Perotti dismissed comparisons with the award-winning rivals, but said the self-service café had picked up a legion of loyal fans.

She said: “We’ve become a bit of an institution really, but I don’t know why. We just provide the service and hope people come back to us.

“It’s a really nice thing, knowing that our customers are voting for us and we have a very loyal fanbase. At least 90 per cent of our customers are regulars.”

Despite its appearances on the silver screen Ms Perotti is adamant that it is the loyal regulars who have made the café what it is today.

The decor, which has remained virtually unchanged for the past 30 years, and the iconic black facade has featured in various photoshoots and advertisements including a Volkswagen advert and a spread in Japanese Vogue.

But the café remains a humble place and Ms Perotti will divulge little about the identity of some of the famous faces that come for its popular cooked breakfast and homemade steak pie. 

She said: “We’re very discreet, you know. But I basically pretend I don’t know who they are and, if I do recognise them, I don’t generally say anything.

“I’m going on the principle that while they’re not quite getting the quiet, they do want a bit of peace.”

The Regency’s reputation brings many tourists through its doors and Ms Perotti added: “Quite a lot of people read about us on the internet and that generates some business, but the hardcore have been coming here for years and we’re very grateful to have them.

“We’re obviously doing something to keep them coming back, which is the main thing.”

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