Hospitality legend Brian Clivaz is planning to open a private members' club in Belgravia.
He wants to revive the art of conversation.
Brian has lodged a planning application to turn a derelict building into a club to rival the fashionable Arts Club in Mayfair.
The building at 6-7 Grosvenor Place has been empty for 19 years.
Brian, once managing director at the Arts Club, sees his new venture as “lower key”.
“The Arts Club is quite high-geared and is very busy, but I think we will be a bit more spacious and sedate,” he said.
Two floors will be dedicated to co-working space with desks and printers to cater for what he calls “laptoppery”.
Elsewhere, drawing rooms will be geared towards creating an atmosphere for conversation.
“I hope we will be a respite, where you can get away from it all and do what people used to do and converse,” says Brian.
“What I've noticed over the years is the most successful people do not sit at their tables clacking away on laptops,” he says.
“They are in command of their business or businesses. And, actually, meeting with friends and having lunches or indeed having a business discussion over lunch is what they do. That should be encouraged I think,” he adds.
The 50,000 square foot building will house two 40 to 60-seat restaurants.
One will focus on seafood and the other will have a more conventional à la carte offering.
An impressive CV
Brian is one of London's most renowned figures in hospitality.
His roles have included food and beverage director at the Savoy, founding director of Home House, director of Scott's and many others.
In 2013, he co-bought the Soho institution L'Escargot (pictured below).
But it could all have been very different. For, as a boy, Brian even toyed with the idea of becoming a priest.
It was a fireside chat with his father, director of British Airways, which set him on the path to a career in catering.
Seduced by the glitz and glamour, he would go on to break bread with some of the world’s most famous stars.
These ranged from acting legends Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton to the “wonderful” Princess Margaret.
He encountered Salvador Dali during his time at Le Meurice – “he looked quite old and crinkled up”.
And, he was left in awe of Princess Diana.
“She had an amazing, magnetic, positive personality. She had this special aura and seemed to glow.”
Brian is excited at the prospect of becoming part of the Belgravia community.
“It's a village and everyone knows each other and they have all been wonderful and very supportive of the club so far.
“People say to me it's just what they've been waiting for,” he adds.
Main picture: Brian on Motcomb Street with Doris.