On the final Saturday night of each month Guido pulls out all of his culinary stops and throws a Spanish themed evening at the café. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition in Bermondsey. They have a real party atmosphere. It involves a lot of eating, a lot of drinking and a good old fashioned Spanish sing song. In previous months Guido has given these evenings theme names which only he thinks are inventive. Frankly it’s a miracle anyone has ever bothered to turn up. Let’s recap for you. Clams and Castanets. Salted Cod and Sangria. Tapas and Torros. He’d never work in advertising, that’s all I am saying. Despite this, the evenings have been surprisingly big hits with the locals. I suppose you must get pretty desparate in Southwark on a Saturday night if you’re not already booked in at The Ritz.
Guido placed a great big handwritten ad in the café window a couple of days ago to try to entice people to come along. I’d say that he surpassed himself with his latest public relations coup but perhaps you should be the judge of that. Zucchini and Zorro! There was even an exclamation mark. If you’re anything like me then you’ll probably never have considered a courgette to be one of the more versatile vegetables on the planet. What I now know Guido can do with one has completely changed my opinion of them. Let me tell you no one can stuff a marrow like he can.
It all kicked off at six o’clock. The café was fully booked. Tables were laid, candles were lit and I even switched on the twinkling fairy lights in the courtyard. The smell of zucchini fritters filled the air. Guido’s father, Juan, mixed up big jugs of sangria for each table using his ancient recipe. He says he plans to take that recipe to his grave and I think last night it almost sent some of our diners to theirs prematurely. The Twins were waiting on tables despite the fact that they had inexplicably made it through to round two of Britain’s Got Talent. Simon Cowell must be losing it. Rap rehearsals in their garage in Rotherhithe have been pretty intense by all accounts but thankfully they still managed to turn up last night as instructed and were wearing bandanas, capes and black eye masks. Zorro costumes were not compulsory for diners but were actively encouraged. Sword carrying accessories were not allowed as that would have been dangerous and illegal and I would have been required to frisk the paying guests on entry.
A band called Los Chicos De Palma played the music. They are four guys from, yes you guessed it, Palma. They are extremely diminutive. They sing, they clap and they bang their little boot heels together at exactly the same time. The first time I saw them my immediate thoughts were, Honey I Shrunk The Gypsy Kings.
Around midnight some diners started a deranged congo dance chain through the café. They went out the back door into the courtyard and then back in and out through the front door. I counted twenty out and twenty four back in, so somewhere along the way they’d picked up several complete strangers. The Twins started jumping repeatedly from the fire escape whilst simultaneously flapping their capes as if they had the ability to fly. It all got crazy, as in stark raving mad, for a bit. Against all odds I downed another jug of sangria. Then we closed at two a.m. to the sound of the Los Chico guys falling into a mini cab.
“In September I am going to cook a squid,” said Guido getting into bed. “Squid. Mmm, squid and.. what rhymes with squid?” he asked.
All answers gratefully on a postcard please.