One of the downsides of living with a chef is you don’t get to go out to eat that much. The last time we ate out was at a pop-up restaurant in Peckham Rye some fool had recommended. The only problem was that nobody had bothered to tell us the tables were inside what turned out to be a metal shipping container. By the time the main courses arrived it was so dark in there Guido and I couldn’t see each other, let alone tell what the food looked like. But no matter where we eat, I can guarantee you Guido – the chef – will do that thing he always does. After one mouthful he’ll raise one eyebrow then utter one of the following three sentences. 1. “I am not sure why I ordered this.” 2. “Is the chef here headless?” and, I know you will find this one hard to swallow but, 3. “This is not what I would call a clam.” Well on Thursday night we threw caution to the wind and ventured out again. This time we were thinking big.
“Get on your glad rags we are dining out tonight and there will be no expense spared!” said Guido slamming shut the fridge door recklessly. I love it when he gets masterful.
Unfortunately by the time we got to The Real Greek it was full of Japanese tourists. The Swan at The Globe was full of American tourists and Carluccio’s was just full of people of indiscriminate nationalities stuffing there faces with spaghetti. Looking at them through the window all slurping and sucking and licking was making me super hungry as well as increasingly psychotic. When I looked at Guido I was beginning to see the distinctive shape of ravioli in his eyes.
“I’m starving,” I said to Guido. “I think I am more hungry now than I ever have been in my entire life.” Which was ridiculous. Had I really forgotten that night when I was stuck on the London Underground for three hours between Mansion House and Moorgate? I had only a Peperami, a Cherry Coke and a small child’s half eaten Big Mac for sustenance. “At this precise moment I think I could possibly eat my left foot,” I said. I realise this would have made walking home later particularly tricky.
Yes. For a horrible moment I thought we were going to have limp back to the café and face the ultimate indignity of eating cold tortilla. Then, just when I thought all was lost, I smelt the faint whiff of a deep fried potato in the air. Who would have thought that the simple but old fashioned British fish and chip shop right next door to the London Eye would come to the rescue. Every nationality of tourist on the planet was in that shop and we shared one common word no matter which language we spoke. And that word was, cod.
Later Guido and I sat down on the bank of the river Thames right in front of Tate Modern. We watched the pleasure boats go by and the sun go slowly down and shared a bottle of beer.
“We really should do this again sometime,” I said thinking of all the high class restaurants we were missing out on across this great capital city of ours.
“Yeah,” said Guido, “Next time I’m going to order the fishcake with the mushy peas.”