I am the sort of person who has to look at his watch when asked if he is hungry. I am hungry when I wake up in the morning and then at midday and again at 6:30 in the evening. It is the clock, not my belly, that decides whether I am hungry. Therefore, I looked at my watch. It was 6:10. “Yes, OK,” I said. “By the time we get there I’ll be hungry”.
We went to Paddington. One reason was that the 205 that takes us home goes on to Marylebone (where Alfie’s antiques emporium and roof-top cafe is) and then to Paddington. “We don’t know the Paddington area very well,” reasoned Tigger, “so we should get to know it.”
We explored the back streets, looking at the menus posted in restaurant and cafe windows. There was plenty of choice but in the end we plumped for a “bubble”, as Tigger calls it. (Rhyming slang: “bubble and squeak” = Greek.) Among the mezze and kleftiko (how anyone can eat a dish consisting of “baby lamb” is beyond me), they offered a “Vegetarian platter”.
On entering we noticed that both waitresses were Chinese. The place was small and could do with redecorating but seemed acceptable. While waiting for the food, we had tea (mmm, tea) and a little dish of sweet chilies, olives and sticks of raw carrot.
The platters eventually arrived. Apart from a slightly dry roast potato, some rice and a micro patch of melted cheese, the rest of the dish consisted of boiled vegetables without any sauce or seasoning. And I had forgotten to bring our pepper mill. There was a cabbage leaf, two or three small courgettes, about a quarter of a cauliflower in a single piece and a similar lump of broccoli. Oh yes, and a small serving of peas and tinned sweet corn.
“I won’t be going back there,” remarked Tigger with commendable understatement as we wandered down the road afterwards. Then, she added “I feel like a piece of really wicked cake to make up.”
Where do you find Wicked Cake, in Paddington, at gone 7 pm on Friday? We spied a Nero coffee bar but it was closed. All that seemed open was small foodstores. In the end, we settled for a packet of butterscotch biscuits to take home. We also found some green-label mild Tabasco, which we had sampled in Paris but not so far found in London. I bought a bottle and it now accompanies the pepper mill on our travels.
We went home and sat in bed drinking tea (mmmm, tea) and eating butterscotch biscuits. All of them. Well, they had chocolate on one side. (Yes, they were “suitable for vegetarians”.) Then we watched a DVD called “March of the Penguins”, a documentary about the life cycle, and especially the breeding behaviour, of Emperor penguins.
These appealing animals live in one of the harshest environments on earth, the South Pole. Mating, protecting and hatching the sole egg, feeding themselves and the hatchling is an amazing and hazardous saga. They are incredible animals.
Remember Bling? We went down to Margate today and popped in to see him. News of that anon.