It must be my face: I told the taxi driver Langham Place and without consultation he drew up outside the Langham Hotel where I teetered merrily up the stairs and into the lobby before remembering that I was going to Ozer, across the road.

 

Wishful thinking, perhaps, because Ozer, at the dead, upper end of Regent Street is less opulent and appealing from the outside than the exotic name suggests. The elaborate, Oriental ironmongery decorating the windows looks like a badly-disguised security grille - Banhams by way of the Harem.

 

The restaurant is described as Modern Ottoman which sounds like something you would buy in the Conran shop to keep your faux fur throw in at the end of the bed. Of course this just means it's trendy Turkish and serves rocket with everything. There's a nod to Turk-kitsch in the dimly-lit bar's obligatory cushion-strewn divans but these feature thin, black clad women perched uncomfortably on the edge of their seats, rather than a host of reclining diaphanous odalisques having their grapes peeled by servile eunuchs.

 

The restaurant part is slick, bright and modern. A red marble wall undulates down one side of the room and at the other there's a teeny little table next to the service station where they park single women who have the misfortune to arrive alone. You are then left, unnoticed, for fifteen minutes with a menu, a bottle of still water and the waiter's jacket flapping in your face every time he serves the neighbouring table. Middle Eastern misogyny or bad manners - who knows, but I only emerged from Purdah when Michael - my blind date arrived.

 

It's awkward meeting someone who you know only through e-mail and a truncated picture by-line in the weekend press. But, hey who's complaining? We finally got some attention..

 

Put away your pad. Michael ordered briskly, You know Adrian Gill never writes anything down.

 

Surprising that, I said to myself, as we danced in a mannerly fashion through the pleasingly interesting menu. It's very polite food - not obsequious but eager not to offend. 'Oh good - nothing lightly dusted with Vim and served on a bed of shredded financial documents,' he said gleefully.

 

The seared tuna was off, thank God. Michael said he'd have saffron seafood pilav then lamb with lentils, and promptly chose the langoustine followed by John Dory instead. I was unsure.

 

What seemed to be vegetables in fragrant herbs wafted over from the next table like second-hand sweat. So not that then.

 

I settled for a salad of artichoke hearts, with broad bean puree, mirepoix and roasted poppy seeds. It arrived, according to Michael, looking like the contents of someone's vacuum cleaner. I wouldn't know. Who vacuums? I arrange my clutter in an orderly, aesthetic way. This, though was happily haphazard with a range of lovely understated flavours, despite the artichokes being colder than a politician's heart, fresh from the fridge.

 

Michael's langoustine were fairly nice, though the pile of pomegranate seeds didn't seem to add much to the dish. Furthermore, there was that awful moment where I wondered if he was going to spit or swallow.

 

Next, I had roasted shoulder of lamb served with kumquats and limequats which sounds like one of those Persian stews with slow cooked meat and citrus fruits. It wasn't. It was lamb with jam, but wonderful - soft, tender and yielding - just the way you wish a politician's heart would be, but still a tad on the cool side. If tiede is post-coital languor then this dish was already smoking a cigarette.

 

Michael had little fillets of John Dory with barberries and bulgar which was delicious, delicate and sweetly spiced.

 

Pudding - Michael had pain perdu with rose ice cream which was like Jean Patou's Joy on a spoon. I had the pear with coriander and pistachio, and asked the waiter if I could have a small taste of the dill sorbet on the side.

 

'But we don't serve zis dish with sorbet!' He exclaimed disapprovingly, as though I had asked him to smuggle two kilos of heroin through customs.

 

Furthermore, the strain of having to actually address me after consulting Effendi Michael on everything from wine, to water, and as to whether we'd both like coffee, was beginning to show.

 

Eventually he agreed to ask the chef who kindly produced the unusual and zingy sorbet which invigorated an otherwise dull, woody pear.

 

I've just finished reading John Freely's Inside the Seraglio, where the Sultan Ibrahim has a heifer's rear cast in gold and sent throughout the Empire in search of a woman of similar proportions. The winner of the lucky cow contest was an Armenian who weighed three hundred and fifty pounds and totally captivated the sultan's erotic affections. It occurred to me that even with my own more modest proportions I could be big in Turkey. Hell I could be big anywhere. It's just in Ozer that I felt invisible.