Now, I know this is of no interest to anyone without ovaries - but listen and learn; shoes are to women what truffles are to pigs and cocaine is to - well anybody who can afford it, seemingly. But legal.

 

Shops are full of the beauties, but who actually wears them? I had begun to think that women kept them boxed in logoed flannel bags, out of direct sunlight - like fancy footwear for the fashionably undead. But then I went to Woody's, the West London nightclub and found their true spiritual home. This is where fabulous shoes go to die, or dance, or to just sit around on red squashy cushions drinking cocktails.

 

I spotted Prada, Moschino, a couple of L.K. Bennet's and a Gina stiletto. Of course, everybody else was in dirty trainers, once-white plimsolls and second-hand car salesman raincoats, but that's Notting Hill for you. Where grunge passes for glamour.

 

Woody's, set in one of those tall, tightly corseted Victorian town houses, used to be a well-dodgy, dark sort of nightclub, until it became a well-heeled, multi-hued sort of nightclub. The womblike hall is painted a blistering blood red, there's a blue dance floor in the basement, a green room upstairs with the ubiquitous private bar, and - well you get the idea. Colour. Lots of it.

 

The dining room is more mellow - brown wrapping paper doubling as both wallpaper and tablecloths and eye level mirrors so you can ogle the other punters, or admire yourself while reapplying your lipstick. There's an open kitchen at one end and a large bay window at the other unveiling the panoramic glories of municipal West London - including the unforgettable Westbourne Park Bus Station, Trellick Tower and the canal.

 

But wear your shades, darling, and then it all looks like downtown NY.

 

When we arrived at 8pm like Mr & Mrs Suburbia, the restaurant was empty, although there were a few well shod beautiful bodies drinking in the bar, sitting underneath a massive photograph of people wearing only underpants.

 

Where is everybody? asked Mr Suburbia.

 

Probably still finishing lunch, said I, wishing I was a sophisticated person who didn't eat dinner before nine, instead of a sad soul who covertly looks at her watch, trying to calculate if she'll be home in time for ER.

 

It's where I'd go to in a parallel life where I was someone svelte in pink ponyskin jacket and feather lined cropped jeans. And though it's spike heel heaven - whether you'd bridge and tunnel it for standing room only on the dance floor is debatable. It fills up quickly and people have been turned away from the bar as early as 8.30 on the weekends. You'd probably want to book the restaurant and make a 3am night of it.

 

I'd be asleep.

 

However, the menu perked me up. It's small but perfectly formed. There's maybe a dozen starters - mostly assembly jobs like crab, avocado and alfalfa sprout salad - a pasta and a risotto which can be had as large or small portions , and seven appetising yet uncomplicated main courses. Best of all - as you would expect from lollipop la-la land where the women are thin and the girls are not hungry all day - there are lots of fish, soups and salads. Beetroot, watercress and Horseradish salad doesn't sound calorific enough to make you run screaming to the gym, though I bet some people ask for the Caesar salad without croutons, anchovies or dressing. Just lettuce in other words.

 

Perversely, for one who has started running, screaming every morning /in/italics the gym, I shunned thoughts of health and had a flavourful emulsified fish soup with rouille & croutons, or rather, as it turned out, one single crouton. It was not overly rich but purringly enjoyable. The rouille was scant and already added to the bowl - to keep the poor solitary crouton company, no doubt. However, to a woman without self-restraint this isn't a bad thing - I tend to ladle it on like sun block on a Californian beach babe.

 

Mr S. had a small risotto with spring vegetables - peas and fresh asparagus mostly - soft, creamy, yielding, and as comforting as sex with a fat woman. His words, not mine.

 

To follow he had the pigeon arranged breast astride a mound of celeriac puree with an unexpected buttery serving of spinach and a Bovrily red wine jus with which he pronounced himself satisfied.

 

I had another to-hell-with-the treadmill carnivorous dish - grilled rib-eye of beef with asparagus, a few shitake mushrooms and more unheralded spinach. It was the perfect shade of pink, a wee bit stringy, but enough to feed the whole room. Prices are more West End than West London, but portions are navvy sized. The Woody's Burger was immense.

 

Pudding choice is small - my companion had the mille-feuilles of raspberries which, though agreeable, was not mille-feuilles - but trois wafers sandwiching several berries and a dollop of runny chantilly sauce which shattered messily and shared itself round the table.

 

I had a dense dark and white chocolate truffle cake.

 

Hefty, said my companion.

 

Cheeky sod, I thought.