My London

Vivek Kamath is one of the directors with Matrix Entertainment, a celebrity management firm. He loves the city and says itís a happy coincidence that it is a big market for Indian stars

Published: Jul 18, 2009 09:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Nov 7, 2009 02:00:40 PM IST

On my first few trips, I took a black cab from Heathrow to Oxford Street. The drive is a little over an hour and the fare ₤70. I have since switched to the Heathrow Express. Paddington takes all of 15 minutes and ₤16.50. From there, connections are easy as pie. You can be at your hotel in less than half the time and money it takes by cab.


Shelter and Food
I have stayed in a number of hotels; the Park Lane Hilton is a favourite, with stunning views of Hyde Park. I love starting the day with a walk in the park followed by breakfast at Julian Metcalfe’s Pret A Manger. Pret is also ideal for a quick, light lunch between meetings.

Many of our international clients opt for Indian food when dining out. So I’ve ended up at Chutney Mary, Veeraswamy and Chor Bizarre. For oriental food, I pick Wagamama, the chain modelled on Japan’s ramen houses; minimal décor, cutting-edge technology (orders are beamed to the kitchen via a handheld device) and reassuringly basic food. For Italian, I normally head for Carluccio’s near Selfridges if it’s a casual dinner or Locanda Locatelli at Seymour Street, for more formal meals.


Shop Talk
I try and visit three stores: Hamley’s, the toy store with flying toys whizzing overhead and dinky cars winding their way underfoot; the Apple Store, as much a design classic as the company’s products; and Muji, the Japanese chain whose stores and merchandise are as sparse as Google’s homepage. I also try and visit the Tate Modern Gallery on the south bank of the Thames and the Design Museum at Shad Thames. For a sports pilgrim, Lord’s and Wimbledon are the holiest of holies.


All Work and Some Plays
My favourite after-hours are the ones spent at London’s West End. I like browsing eight floors and eight miles of shelves at Waterstone’s, the biggest bookstore in Europe, and then losing myself in a book at the 5th View Bar on the top floor.

Or an evening at the theatre. Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap has been running for over 50 years, Phantom of the Opera for nearly 20 and The Lion King for over 10. I saw Bombay Dreams during its comparatively brief run but haven’t seen Lord of the Rings, also featuring music by A.R. Rahman, India’s second biggest export after chicken tikka masala.



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(This story appears in the 17 July, 2009 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)

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