London has simply become a money park for dodgy money and though ‘McMafia’ reflected elements of that, the truth is far more depressing


Since the 1st January, the nation was engrossed (though many were also totally bored) by the BBC’s eight-part drama series McMafia.


Based on a fictional – though plainly inspired by the likes of the late Boris Berezovsky – Russian mafia family relocated to London, the TV adaptation of this thriller was filmed primarily in Knightsbridge, Mayfair and South Kensington. It showcased what many might consider the extreme wealth of Central London, but, in fact, was presented a little bit amateurishly.


Of the show, Carol Midgley in The Times summed it up well. She remarked: “If this is how miserably the super-rich live, I’d take a semi in Swindon any day” and equally now, if you wander the streets of SW1, SW3, SW7 and W1, you’d not disagree with her.


Recent news that the Fine Art Society is closing in Bond Street after 140 years due to “soaring rents” and “an influx of wealthy international fashion houses” illustrates the effect of the arrival of uncultivated new wealth in that sector, but equally sad is the demise of local restaurants and shops that actually provide things that genuine, full-time residents actually need.


Boarded up in Belgravia this month, after 44 years in operation, the Ebury Wine Bar closed supposedly due to the retirement of its owner, Nigel Windridge. Also gone – aside from the key loss of the much loved La Brasserie in Brompton Cross – are restaurants like Itsu in Walton Street and Racine in Brompton Road. Replaced by shisha bars and other businesses aimed at wealthy Gulfies and oligarchs, the streets of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea are increasingly becoming utterly devoid of character.


Follow The Steeple Times on Twitter at @SteepleTimes.



  1. I miss Poissonnerie de l’Avenue very much myself. I loved that place. Stella McCartney’s arrival brought the area around Brompton Cross to its knees and I’m only glad the wonderful newsagent survives. We must all support it and other local shops. Down with McCartney!

  2. Sounds like you’d all be better off moving Down Under!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop your bloody moaning and get with the picture ——- MONEY brings JOBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These old dumps were past it and people want NEW and SHINY joints to hang out in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wrecking ball required for tired out London!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. The worst thing is the loss of the characters. I miss seeing Angelo (the little waiter who moaned about teapots) at La Brasserie and the flower seller with the Mini who hawked those shitty roses at Scalini and Motcombs. They were real people and they’ve been replaced by twats who eat kale sandwiches and gold wrapped Ferraris.

  4. If I had my way all these villains would be in body bags and transported back to the rat infested s**tholes from whence they came. They plundered their own countries and they think they can come here and mess up our streets. Someone should put their foot down finally and tell the lot of them to EFF OFF.

  5. Everyone misses La Brasserie. There is simply nowhere else to go. Aubaine, The Ivy King’s Rd – they’re all full of dullards and wannabes. Bring back La Bras! Peter Godwin – WE NEED YOU!

  6. The world is more global now (that sounds like a daft statement but you know what I mean). it’s not just London, and Chelsea in particular, it’s New York and doubtless other major cities. The character that makes each city unique is being eroded, and tasteless new money is the root cause, enabled by real estate greed.

  7. Was Chelsea / Knightsbridge area.
    Now Dubai / Abu Dhabi ruined it !!! Council only want high rents and corrupt money.
    Lost all it charm of an English society. Very sad.

  8. There really is scope for a ‘1970s done well restaurant’ in SW London. La Brasserie ticked many modern restaurant investment case requirements ironically. We need to get together 10 or so angel investors and a vision of what made the Brasserie and their like so damn good. Mainly it’s food, ambiance and people. And class. That word is sadly not bought by oil money as so many of the rude, uneducated rich sons of Kuwait demonstrate on a daily basis with their behaviour.


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