Ruby’s, Hockerill Street, Bishop’s Stortford (67%)


Saturday 2nd December 2017.

“This aint no place for no hero. This aint no place for no better man. To call home.” (The Heavy)

Another popular lyric victim to the widespread scourge of the double negative. Strictly speaking, the place this heavy’s banging on about is, in fact, just dandy for ‘no hero’; only, I gather, that’s not quite what he meant. But who knows, in this era of double talk and amorphous identities, what anybody means.

So this was home once, Stortford. It used to grace a concrete ‘curly-wurly’. (My mum called it that, I don’t know if anybody else did.) It used to have this paddling pool with a minor Trevi fountain opposite the Registry Office. It’s still got The Cock Inn (since 1547).

Across the road from The Cock you’ve got Ruby’s. Rod Stewart ate in there once. He lives down the road in Sheering – in a thatched cottage, under an ancient rookery (probably). He’s often seen in the windows of Bishop’s Stortford eateries (else Sheering’s MacDonald’s). Ruby’s website is plastered with the evidence if you don’t believe me. I don’t know about Sheering’s MacDonald’s.

So Stortford lost again: 1 – 2 to St Neot’s. Still, I got to learn that St Neot’s is located in Cambridgeshire not Cornwall (a long held misconception). The Blue Brazil worthy of the point we thought, life’s cruel like that. I don’t know about this ‘Blue Brazil’. Unless it refers to Brazilians on a downer… “Hey, Socrates, where’s the answers, man?” speaks Éder with a heavy heart. “Woke up this morning, life’s a losing football match…” sings Júnior.

Then we had some drinks at The Nags Head and went to Ruby’s. It’s a smart place, nicely lit, pleasantly subdued; packed out though. Landed a spacious booth. The food largely excellent: standard pickle tray, nicely done; mixed feelings about the bhajis – better than average; super quality meat on starters and mains; sauces more expected than exceptional.


The service, on the other hand, was an abomination. How many times ought one politely request their pint of lime soda before exploding – two, three times? What about those dirty plates? Half an hour and they’re hotbeds of gathering bacteria and negative vibes… Nobody wants to know you in this place. You’re nobody unless your name’s Rod Stewart. I appealed for the bill.

The earth turned.

Somehow, and finally, without seeing it coming, we’re released from our ordeal; breathe again, embrace – remember our humanity…

This is the travelling curry fool signing off, thanks for reading. Stand by for my next invention: “The Mutton Jeff Little Chef Bellybuster Breakfast Buff”

Your good health and happiness.


Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles
Jason Paine
Steve Strachan


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