The lure of the English pub food even allured America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, who flew from Paris for a short break into London with her two daughters, while President Obama went back directly from Paris to Washington.
A much younger person to occupy White House, she proved her down-to-earth attitude to life, unlike all her predecessors, Hillary Clinton or Laura Bush for all of whom a visit to a pub was not the done thing.
Michelle Obama had earlier visited Westminster Abbey, Downing Street for tea with Sarah Brown, and Pinewood Studio, Britain’s oldest and brought the Strand in West End to a standstill when they went to see the Lion King musical near Convent Garden.
But their dinner at a pub was the most pleasant surprise for the British.
They chose the popular Audley pub in London’s Mayfair, very near the Nehru Centre, where a famous dish would cost almost £8.
But even the tight security on the South Audley Street did not make anyone suspect that a famous family was about to arrive there.
Sources said that the staff had a booking for 25 people in the private upstairs dining room but they had no idea that it was Michelle’s party.
They were awe-struck when they saw her stepping in. She opted for a sirloin steak but her girls went for the favourite British meal, a fish dish.
The bill reportedly touched £200 which included a hefty tip.
Cintia Pinto, 24, who served Michelle on Monday night, told a daily, “We were speechless when they walked in. I couldn’t believe it. But they were all very friendly, smiling and laughing. They made us feel calm. The girls were so sweet and polite. They thanked us every time we brought them something. It was a real honour.”
Manager John Gohery added, “It was a real surprise and a pleasure. We’ve had other famous people coming in but nothing on this scale.”
When HT went their later, the staff was still excited about the visit, “It’s a lifetime memory”.
Audley pub has had famous clientele, including Dustin Hoffman and Elton John.