The book by Ben Macintyre dedicated on the life and deeds of Englishman Eddie Chapman. A crook turned small criminal turned big criminal turned agent turned double agent turned hero/anti-hero. The book is as old as 2007.
2007 a year when Bowie was still alive, my son still a teenager and Bulgaria - a bucket full of good expectations and just tiny, innocent, pre-EU-scale corruption being just admitted into the union. Anyway 2007, the publishing year, has nothing to do with the subject.
The subject being: I am reading this pertinent book. It is well written and well documented. But it also has drinking landmarks - important for me. LAAF's initial aspiration being art combined with food/drink. I want to write about the drinks described in a novel (this books is not a novel). I would write to review the food depicted in a film.
But the drinking landmarks in this book are already...cold.Else to say : dead/ non existent. No Cold Corps nor Silent Witness. What I mean is: the book being full of cold landmarks made me search in the closest alive once to replace them As this is what usually happens, doesn't it? Nothing really dies. It gets replaced by something else. Other but similar. Which we call Reserction (Nevermind that we are closely after Christmas)
Based on the book, I was looking for Quaglino's. Google said it existed but I could 't find it. I was looking for it as according to the book it was where Chapman and Terence Young (who would go on to direct the first James Bond film) were often seen "surrounded by bottles and girls" .
And while I was not finding Quaglino's on Christmas Eve, I found... DUKES. DUKES like in "Legendary cocktail bar, said to have inspired Ian Fleming for James Bond's signature martini". ....
... You know I am half Bulgarian - big rakia and whisky drinkg nation; and half Iraqi - big arrak and whisky drinking nation (forget Captagon and Ecstasy Caliphate - heresies) Well, I think I've never been as drunk before. Honestly.
They will serve you only two martinis, it's the Duke's policy. Yet, "only" would be something like....... WW2? Stalin? I mean total annihilation Would you need more than two Martinis? No, thank you.
It was Christmas Eve about teatime, I was surrounded by American tourists and it was just excellent to observe everybody getting... I would say STUPENDO, the Italian for WONDERFUL. Wonderfully and briskly stupefied by good alcohol. Grownups with beautifully blushed cheeks and incredulous look in the eyes "I can't believe this is happening to me", "I can't believe how quickly and unexpectedly I was rendered quasi helples". This under the loving and all forgiving glance of well trained hyper polite waiters, with a lot of sense of humor.
Tow days later when R and I undertook a second expedition in search of Quaglino's and its new location 16 Bury Str; we both agreed that at the price of £21 the Martinis at Dukes are not expensive at all. If not even very cheap for what they are. What makes them slightly costly though is the Black Cab that I had to use to get home. Me, the big town hiker and public-transport rider, it was impossible for me, both times, to go home using the usual ways of travelling. I say both times, as after Quagluno's, R and I ended up in Dukes, for the drinks at Quaglino's were not bad, but also were not remarkable.
And then at Dukes after the first sip of Odd Job 1646 all became a large, colourful smudge.
Warning: forget the rest, but a drunken night out is very very bad for your face.
PS What about the book? Well, with two visits at Dukes in a week, I am still on page 26. Instead, a good book review of Frank Gardner's 'Ultimatum' by Caroline Fakhri is available under Books or here: http://www.londonartandfood.com/437220133