Sex, lies and flipping pancakes

If I haul myself out of bed on time in the morning, I’ll have breakfast in the café before heading off to work. Let’s call it a terrific perk of having sex with a chef. These days I’m eating some of Guido’s red berry and hazelnut granola. It might taste like gravel but apparently it’s one of the best selling healthy options on his breakfast menu.

Last Monday I found myself sharing a table with two wonderful seventy year old American tourists from Hackensack, New Jersey. They’re a married couple, called Belva and Cricket (you’ve got to just love those names haven’t you?) who are checked-in for seven nights around the corner at the Hilton London Bankside. There’s just one big problem. Cricket thinks the breakfast there stinks.

“D’you guys serve pancakes?” yelled Belva throwing open the café door last week. It almost came flying off at the hinges. She shrieked that question like someone asking if I knew how to start pumping CPR compressions or blow some air urgently for mouth to mouth resuscitation. I suppose there are times when only a pancake will do.

“Yes,” I said.

Of course I lied. Although I knew that pancakes aren’t a permanent fixture on the breakfast menu, I figured if somebody’s life depended on them then Guido wouldn’t mind rustling up a stack. And just maybe if they were lucky, drizzling on optional maple syrup.

Unfortunately that particular Monday morning it was super hectic in the kitchen. I found Guido sweating profusely over six simultaneous orders of French Toast, two buttered baps, and a pan of worryingly unresponsive porridge. When I told him about a further two unsolicited orders which involved whipping fresh pancake batter he shouted something very derogatory at me in Spanish. Trust me, in the cut and thrust of the culinary world, he’s no mister nice guy.

“I love a kid who makes his pancakes with buttermilk,” said Cricket pushing back an empty plate and unfurling the napkin from his collar. “And that crispy bacon on the side? Hell yeah.”

The next morning Cricket had pancakes with blueberries. The next morning he had pancakes with Nutella and a sprinkle of chopped almonds. This morning when I walked through the café Cricket was actually flipping his own on the griddle. If the two of them hadn’t been booked for a visit to Buckingham Palace this afternoon he could’ve helped with the lunch service.

“You and Guido,” said Belva sipping her coffee, “you two boys are havin’ sex, aren’t you?”

Whilst I do admire directness, this did make me almost choke to death on my super healthy granola. Which would certainly have been pretty ironic.

“I can always tell lovers,” whispered Belva. She drew me near. “When our daughter, Shirley, brought her girlfriend, Vera, home for the first time… I opened the door and I said straight off right there and then on the porch – you two girls are havin’ sex, aren’t you?” God only knows what poor Vera must thought at the time. I’m surprised she didn’t run a mile. It must be like having Dr Ruth as your mother-in-law.

Guido’s created a pancake which is going to be on the special’s board all next week. He’s named it the Hackenstack.

I just hope Cricket can fit one in before he has to fly home.


52 thoughts on “Sex, lies and flipping pancakes

  1. They sound like a hoot, the last time I stayed at a Hilton in London the breakfast was something silly like 18-pounds extra, per person. I know you can do better for less. Wish I was there.


  2. You are either incredibly brave or silly to speak to a Chef in a kitchen the way you do asking that he make pancakes when really busy. Guido probably could through a kitchen knife at you for some comment. Oh well! The wedding is approaching, will you have any more details for the readers. What is on the wedding luncheon menu at the Ritz.


  3. Of course you two are not having sex. You aren’t even married yet! Also I cannot imagine how you would fit hanky-panky into the schedule. Between your nocturnal discourse and Guido waking up in the wee hours of the morning preparing breakfast for his customers how could you find the time?


  4. Hackenstack – yes!! It’s need to be a new thing. That couple sounds delightful. Years ago, I cooked breakfast at a B&B here in Asheville, and one morning, a man from England wanted ‘a spot of porridge’ while he was staying there. He was so adorable! I am thrilled to see you writing again, thanks for coming back to visit me. 🙂


  5. Hi JP, Ted here, Yes have just got the long socks from Harrods, as you know I’m a little ‘Short Arse’ so they almost reach up to my behind, now I have to decide between ‘Garters’ or ‘Suspenders’. What do you think?


  6. What is the address of the cafe? I like to do arm chair travel via Google street view. I found the Hilton London Bankside. It was under construction at the time the photo was taken. Went around a few corners but am not sure what I’m looking for.


  7. Hi JP, Ted here again! Sorry to keep commenting but we are getting excited now, only 5 days to go! Have you given any thought to the old wedding day superstition ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue?’ I have an old pair of Y Fronts I could lend you, that would cover the ‘Something Old, Something Borrowed, and although they are white (well a bit grey now) they could be classed as somewhat ‘Blue’ if you get my drift. I’ll give them a rinse and bring them round and have a pancake. Ted.


    • Thanks for the (very) kind offer but I have all bases in that region with a pair of “blue” boxers to match my “new” VW suit. That only leaves “old” and “borrowed”. As you’re performing best man duties I thought you’d probably cover those. See you Monday morning. JP


  8. Gary thinks you are referring to me when you say “The Something Old” along with the something ‘New, Borrowed and Blue’ at your wedding, I said you wouldn’t be so unkind….would you?
    He’s been looking through his wardrobe deciding what to wear, half of his stuff has never been worn and still have the labels attached, “In case I change my mind and want to take them back” he says, “What” I said, “After all these years, flared trousers went out of fashion ages ago”. See you Monday. Ted.
    P.S. I might wear the Y fronts now I’ve bothered to wash them!


  9. I love Belva 😂 Perfect company for breakfast 😄 Is the restaurant named Guido’s? I’ll definitely stop by if I visit London ☺


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