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Meet the neighbours – Philip Lawless

Continuing our monthly series, we meet Philip Lawless from Motcombs in Belgravia. He reveals his inspirations, foods he can’t live without and his recipe for success.

Q. It’s more than thirty years since you first bought Motcombs, when it was a small café. What has been the key to its successful expansion? And what makes a well-managed restaurant tick?

A. I always say: good service; good food; good bill. If you have these three, you will never go wrong.

Q. What do you like about Belgravia? How has the area changed in the last thirty years?

A. I like the neighbourhood – friendly but not in an obtrusive way, and yes, it has changed so much. If I didn’t walk down it every day – I would not recognise the place. There are new shops on every corner and new developments. It does not stop, it just keeps growing and growing.

Q. What new plans do you have for the restaurant?

A. Keep it simple – if it is not broken why fix it!

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you?

A. A mobile phone – well I might not even have reception, but I would still take it with me. Plus a pen and paper – to write my memoirs.

Q. Do you live locally?

A.Yes, just around the corner.

Q. What are the hot trends in your field this season?

A. It is the hunting season so we will have the old favourites grouse, pheasants and partridge.

Q. What food can’t you live without?

A. Steak and oysters.

Q. You have entertained many famous guests at Motcombs over the years. Who would you be most excited to see make a reservation at the restaurant?

A. I know it is a cliché to say I get excited by any new people walking in my restaurant, they don’t have to be famous as everyone has their own story to tell. But I would be delighted if I got a call from Her Majesty’s office that would be something else.

Q. Who and what inspires you?

A. Her Majesty, at her age she is a remarkable woman and for me just the constant drive to just keep on going.

Q. Any advice to young hopefuls who want to break into your field?

A. Work harder and harder

  • Philip Lawless is the owner of Motcombs bar and restaurant (020 7235 6382; The restaurant is located at 26 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8JU. It offers modern British food and fine wines with a friendly service.