In the Clarence Hotel, you can sit around all day and hope that Bono and the boys of U2—they own the joint, after all—might turn up for a quick snack. Other stars of stage and screen often stay at the hotel and stop in at the Tea Room. Minimalistically hued in golden oak, eggshell white, and light yellows, the high-ceilinged room is a perfect stage for off-duty celebs. The contrast between this vaulted cocoon and busy Essex Street—whose madding crowds can be glimpsed
through the double-height windows—could not be more dramatic. The menu has been slimmed down in recent times with a focus on a smaller number of dramatic dishes, such as duck with Parmesan tuiles and red-wine sauce, or the panfried gnocchi with wild mushrooms and caramelized onions.