Wednesday 17th May 2017.
“I sympathize afresh with the mighty Voltaire, who, when badgered on his deathbed and urged to renounce the devil, murmured that this was no time to be making enemies.” (Christopher Hitchens – almost on his deathbed)
Whether complaining about the incessant repetitions of the Indian mantra serenading our dining table from the speaker above counts as making enemies I’m not sure. 108 versions of the same dirgeful invocation does seem a bit much to endure over three courses. Something about a Yamaha. We took the news of the 108 iterations with solemn grace though, and a sort of unspoken apology for not realising. Assumed the CD was stuck.
Next we’re sat figuring how long we’d got. The pickle tray (muchos mediocre, sin chilli hit!), twenty recitations at least. The pleasing starter medley (squid rings, chicken wings, onion bhaji, prawn puree) another mournful twenty. By now, duly doped, gazing out onto the twinkling, mediterranean seascape, together we contemplated ineluctable infinity. And drowning. The extended interlude awaiting our complete order of main course items, including the tardy arrival of sundries, another incalculable spiritual journey…
More triumphs! Frank’s eye-catching, béchamely mushroom sauce, Champs’ piquant fish machhi – Tina Turner’s “Simply The Best” a more fitting soundtrack. Though her trademark pneumatic bum squats a perhaps unseemly extravagance considering the deserted lunchtime setting. (My tandoori king prawn vindaloo might have launched a sultry “Steamy Windows” encore, in truth.)
Maybe there was a place for that Scot’s master of acoustic guitar and Ravenscroft sax we’d enjoyed at ‘Tikki Beach’ (Benidorm) the other lunchtime. His “Baker Street” had the pensionable ladylife lathering great oil slicks into the inked, taut skins of boisterous boy beef. Unlike my delightful, distinguished prawns, ‘Tikki Beach’ is swimming in sauce.
Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles