Now when the juicy sausages of fine-dining writing have splashed their relishes in fabulous gardens around the countryside; the little rhododendron that's me can sit and put a few words about the holes where it has nibbled lately.
Eliot's, Borough Market, is my July absolute banger. Especially because of the street works straight at its doors, which give the place the particularly dramatic, disheveled air of an urban bombsite, so typical for summertime London.
Sipping on fresh, cold and zesty, organic orange wine from North-East Italy - Trieste roundabouts I imagine - while gnawing on deep-fried mature Scottish cheddar while looking at mountains of road cover debris and the tools left behind in the abysses beyond gives a surreal like finishing to the pervert pallet experience combining a cool Italy with a hot Scotland. An unexpectedly good combination.
In round two: drinking a taniny, served cold - don't ask about the blends - rich and ringing in the head with high-pitched little copper bell - don't ask about the region, the third on the by glass list - deep red French while chewing on ... first let me say that during the first 24 hours after eating this miracle of the Sicilien kitchen wonders my being was coming back to the concept, the notion and the experience of it for ten minutes once every hour. Which is basically what happens with one when one is in love... this fantastic calzone filled only with three basics that are butter, massive amounts of it, salt and lemon juice. Having in mind that in my personal religion the only thing that good wine needs is good bread, yes preferably with salt and oil, with the lemon being a for-special-piety godsend reward; in Eliot's, last Friday afternoon, I found my personal new Jerusalem already built. And with the Spanish, Greek and Indian feet stumbling around the dark Satanic excavation holes along Stoney Street my standard for cosmopolitan perfection is fulfilled, pinning this New Jerusalem on my personal map.
With the New Jerusalem on Friday, 16 July, next came the New Mumbai on Saturday evening. This last one is otherwise and commonly known, to those less enlightened in English and World poetry, as Karamel N22 vegan restaurant; where I was taken not merely for the excellent set roti & variety of curries served on charming aluminium multicompound plate-board?, but mainly for the classical Indian music life with Yousuf Ali Khan, Jonathan Mayer and Paul Clarvis. Both of excellent quality and incredible value at £10 p/p each. At New Mumbai they also soak clients with bio wines, cheap and sincere.
Surrounded by warehouses and old factories, the New Mumbai is in a similarly spacious hall theoretically connected to the Chocolate Factory artists studios - both, and this is my guess, supported by Haringey Council - and housed in industrial type buildings. There is no more romantic walk in the July urban dusk than the walk down the new River Walk pathway North of Hornsey Overground Station, through the railways underpassege and straight into Wood Green's quiet and deserted industrial zone; contrasted with the warm, convivial atmosphere created by the smell of curry and the sounds of tabla that slaps you once in.
This and the excited chirup of the young and older children of the poshish, hippyish - both moderately - trendyish in a parallel N22 universe young and older couples. Très peculiar, très out of space, out of time hence terribly irresistible.
And then just as we were going from high to high of ginger and thrilled; while the art director rapping her in the endless charm of her deep dark eyes and the curls of her rich curly hair while telling us about all the gems in their program and in the artist studios behind; when I did my usual party trick, spoiling the party by asking a simple question: "What's this?" I asked the young woman bringing to the table the stuff we were eating and drinking - calling her a waitress somewhat doesn't fit as much as the New Mumbai is not really a restaurant, but feels and looks somewhere between canteen and Food Bank hall - fork-pointing at a delicious round and green vegetable verymuch looking like a lime, but tasting like...like something I don't know. "I don't know", said the young woman. "What do you mean "You don't know". Don't you taste the food that you are serving?". "No" said she she and that's that.
And off I went wandering at loud "If the place is so very communal and council backed, and if the food is precooked and you have two not twenty, people working, what, just what the hell may prevent you from giving them a taster of what they are serving, as if you were any random corporative caterer?". And I took the question to the lovely art manager, that in a very English way asked the girl whether she got fed before her shift with a lovely... - the name of something I don't know - which the girl confirmed, but this obviously wasn't enough to settle me down; and my brain went on on a wild ride on its favourite mad horse called Comparative Cultural Generalisations, the ride with which I lately so much try to avoid; thinking things like English and Indians they go so well together in their love of class and caste system; which is why Brexit is a good thing as neither have any place in theoretically, at least, egalitarian Europe. And also thinking that's why I rarely write about food for by default restauration, regardless of how much I love restaurants, is a criminal activity*. And that's why I like Café Bohême because the waiters know their menu, or at least give the illusion well enough. Eventually asking myself how on earth was I able to find a dark grain in such a marvelous fruit. But hey, isn't that what karamel is? The bitter finishing of burned sugar??
So welcome back to London - which after Lockdown feels like an open-air soul asylum, walking through which feels like a safari but populated with sweet, boundaries-freed and completely nut people. And to make it even more interesting instead of treated most of the inhabitants of Open-Air London Mental Town are drunk; which is not surprising having in mind that even the Queen sells ale and gin! - Yes, welcome back you juicy sausages, old, vicious London is waiting to wrap you in its furnace-hot crumbling crust.
*And also because food-porn - taking pictures of food - is as boring as porn porn.