By ten to nine it was clear I had been stood up. I should have known the evening was going to be a disaster when the lift tried to eat me on the way in. But I was wrong - well about Hugo, anyway. It transpired he was sitting, rather optimistically, in the foyer of the much swankier and eminently gorgeous Home House in Portman Square. I, however, was waiting in the restaurant Between Six and Eight (so called because it's on the seventh floor - how's that for wit!) at Home, the club, in Leicester Square.
Confused? You will be: There's also a third restaurant called Home in Shoreditch. Full of spaced out people in club gear all wondering where the dance floor is, no doubt.
So I waited patiently and admired the view - a panoramic South London skyline skimming the teeming ghastliness of Leicester Square, stretching down towards Big Ben and the river.
This is the good part. The room is designed to maximise the view. A nice space - dimly lit, with lots of grey and white organic shapes and curves - and the night sky as a backdrop. The rest of the meal, however, was so spectacularly bad that had it was almost dinner theatre.
First, I had a glass of Chablis which tasted like correction fluid and had to be replaced. Then Hugo ordered a £35 Rossa Barbera and instead got a £64 Montrachet. They couldn't manage to open the second, correct, bottle of wine and had to whisk it away for emergency surgery from which it returned, miraculously uncorked.
And then they knocked it over.
The menu is another of those dreadful mishmashes of ingredients that behave on the plate like children on a long car journey. They just don't get along. It reminds me of those novelty books where you flick through different bodies and heads and end up with a kilted sailor wearing a sombrero. Except it's not so amusing when it's foie gras with a pineapple chutney taco.
Understandably, we just couldn't choose. Eventually I asked for their signature dish - the Home Plate - a selection of starters only available for two or more, at a whopping £12.50 each. Hugo wanted to try the squid and rocket cannelloni - couldn't we have just a small portion of squid included on the Home plate?.
The waiter looked pained. Sorry - no - the squid is something you eat with a knife and fork, he explained, and the Home Plate is more like finger food.
Oh silly us - they've passed a new food rule and forgotten to send us the memo.
So, duly chastised, we had the Home Plate which turned out to be sushi. Or at least, sushi in the same way that I'm a natural blonde.
It consisted of two pieces each of salmon which had been wrapped in filo pastry and fried - like an oriental attempt at Salmon Wellington. Then some vegetable rolls, some gluey mashed potato and cod dumplings, and tasteless sole in a seaweed tempura - all served with a selection of seemingly random dipping sauces. There was also a pair of jumbo spring rolls arranged like crossed swords in the middle of the square platter which were nice in a monotonous sort of way. Everything was tepid - but frankly, I don't think heat, or lack of it, was the problem. It just wasn't good.
Admittedly, the restaurant had just opened so you could be kind and hope it improves. Perhaps the chef, previously Head Chef at Vong, wasn't actually in the building that evening. Or maybe they figure that customers drifting in from the club downstairs will already have consumed enough E numbers to moonlight as food additives, and won't care what they eat
To follow I had another signature dish - venison with seven
pepper linguini - two slabs of rare venison steaks perched atop a mound of
pasta surrounded by crispy fried Brussels sprouts and pomegranate seeds.
Really you couldn't make this up. Don't try this at home, folks. There is nothing, repeat nothing, you can do with Brussell sprouts except throw them at your siblings.
The Seven pepper linguini tasted as though someone in the kitchen had merely peppered it seven times - and then brought the pepper mill to the table should I be barking mad and want more.
Hugo chose squab with lentils. He pronounced the squab very nicely done but ill conceived against the overpoweringly hearty flavour of the spicey lentils. He said he couldn't see the point of venison. By this stage, I couldn't see the point of life.
Pudding - I had deep fried ice cream with passion fruit and coconut mouse. Hugo had pear tart with apple chirboust. We didn't know what a chirboust was, and we still don't. As for the deep fried ice cream - well it defies description - so let me tell you about the bathroom instead.
It has more curves than Mae West, and a circuitous route that has one running round the stalls like a mouse in a maze looking for a reward. Even more bewilderingly - it isn't signposted, and the door marked by a very discreet lower-case f.
Its location is obviously a well guarded secret. As should the restaurant be. So don't tell your friends. Please.