Tonight I met an old friend for dinner in Soho. We went to a tapas restaurant on Old Compton Street that had been good ten years ago. Unfortunately…
Unfortunately I should have pointed out to him that, no matter how good it was ten years ago, it was almost completely empty when every bar and restaurant around it was heaving with people. Instead, we both went in, and had a bottle of slightly fizzy rioja, a salad where we had to concoct our own dressing, a bowl of spaghetti that had just survived three rounds of combat with a microwave, and a bowl of chorizo in wine that stank.
Sometimes a restaurant has few customers because it’s exclusive. And sometimes it has few customers because it’s terrible.
My friend remonstrated with the staff, but all the poor dumb waiter did was bring food to us from the dumb waiter. Who knows what was going on in the basement kitchen? Not cooking, clearly, in the regular sense of the word. Still, while the food was excrement the conversation was excellent. I learned all about how terrible British Airways’ business class is, and then we went south of the river to another tapas bar, where friends of friends were drinking, and the food was decent. By then we were full of food if not booze, so the evening grew a little less civilised, until it was time for us to clear off home.
I went back to Charing Cross. There was no direct train home, something that caught me by surprise, and delayed my return home by 30 minutes. But I suppose that granted me valuable sobering up time.
I couldn’t complain about the tortilla. The plates were enormous though – that should have been a sign that this was not the One True Tapas.