Sunday 15th May 2016.
Hairing it down the famed Rue Foyatier steps, my assailant in hot pursuit, flexing his gold chains like cheese wire between his fists, we dared not stop to look. (It was down these very steps that a slightly inebriated Lionel Blair once perfected his ’Monkeybum Serenade’, by the way. Had Una Stubbs in stitches.) Pooped on Danny La Rue we collapsed breathless… There he was, withdrawing to his raptors perch, a distant speck at the doors of the funicular.
Moments earlier, restrained in a claw-like grip, the monster proceeds to drape his dubious trinkets over me. “It pleases, Sir?”
Wrenching myself free whilst simultaneously impeding some big brute’s lady friend I somehow effected an escape. Anon, adrenaline pumped, we careered down Montmartre side streets, Gary Moore’s “Parisienne Walkway” earworming a fitting soundtrack to our heroic flight. In fearless delirium I sang out the words, “Parisienne Walkway”. (That’s all it needed, Gary.) Who knows if a citizen’s arrest was subsequently performed, stern letters to the press, family man hounded, community destroyed… or, indeed, if the miscreant remains at large, clutching at unsuspecting limbs with impunity…
And yet, despite all this upheaval, distress and triumph, a pair of Pickles, believe it or not, still managed to arrive, undeterred, outside the unremarkable facade of a mildly feted Montmartre curry house. Braving the inhospitable air of hostility and violence we defiantly thrust ourselves into the empty restaurant.
We got the window seat. Cramped, cosy, what you will. The decor and ambience brimming with classical Indian luxuriance: decorative fabric across the ceiling; spangled images of Krishna and Ganesh; sumptuous mahogany fretwork panelling; the chairs upholstered in dressy gold linen. It’s a shame the music went curiously missing – just a single tune that Skippy rather took to: it had a Mighty Booshish voodoo quality, the chorus. It seemed to be summoning a universal onion bhaji, from what I could make out. And that was that. The occasional din of a food blender.
The paper table cover disappointed somewhat. And then the service. Mamma Lakshmi failing to replace the starter napkins; re-setting our used cutlery for the main dishes. Having to chase up the garlic naan, despite remaining their solitary lunchtime custom. (The greasy morsel wasn’t much worth hastening, to be honest.) The food was generally ho-hum save for my lamb madras which was surprisingly rewarding. Forget hot towels and, if you can, avoid the toilets. A single grubby unisex cubicle, accompanied by a dirty wash basin.
At 62 euros it felt a tad pricy. 15 euros for the tandoori king prawn starter alone (dry and barely flavoured). And not a drop of the hard stuff.
Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles