I am a greedy pig. A great big greedy piggy. I really love eating too much stuff than I strictly should.
And I get mouth boredom a lot too. Mouth boredom is when you have had, for example, a massive roast dinner at three thirty on a Sunday afternoon and still, despite your stuffed gut, crave a dopiaza at nine. You’re not hungry per se but the thought of chilli, ginger and coriander dancing a jig on your tonsils is too divine to ignore.
And speaking of which….(crowbar? what crowbar?)
……I went for lunch by myself at a newish Bombay style cafe called Dishoom on St Martin’s Lane near Covent Garden.
I eat out by myself quite a lot. For several reasons. Firstly I have a job that affords me time off when others are working and secondly, I like it. I love it in fact. Is it too far to say I prefer it? No. I prefer eating out alone to eating out in the company of others.
Good God, that’s a thing to say. I am going to die in a bed-sit. Where I will lie in my own putrefying filth until the neighbours complain about the smell. And will then get scraped up off the lino and whacked through a municipal crematorium in a chip board coffin. Ahh dear… poor ‘eats alone man’. Passers by will nod sagely as the black smoke plumes into the cloudy sky. He ate alone and he died alone. Tut tut. Such a shame. They needed a crane to move the body out you know….
I’m er.. only joking. I am um.. very sociable. And the scenario above will NEVER happen. You hear me. NEVER….But I do love eating alone- you can order what you like, you can people watch, you can read a paper, a book or do whatever you damn well like. What you should not do is whip out a branded BBC note book and pen in the vain attempt of looking like a proper food critic. Tick. Years ago. But I was an arse, finding my way in the world, years ago. And running the BBC staff canteen. Ha! Idiot!
Anyway. Dishoon is near Covent Garden Tube station. Which as a rule is not somewhere I frequent unless I absolutely have too. Strange, presumably mentally impaired men and women in top hats, painted silver, standing on a box…..and wait for it…. not moving. Now that’s magic…. I saw Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House last year and I ended up in Road House (awful Jeremy Kyle of Night Clubs) on a blind date a few years ago. Which is an interesting anthropomorphic example of how eclectic is, a. Covent Garden and b. My love life. Both evenings, interestingly, ended poorly. But for different reasons.
For goodness sake man, Dishoom. OK. It’s very good but not brilliant. I like the room, it is relaxing and pleasant in both appearance and ambiance. The staff are well-drilled courteous and professional. And there are lots of things on the menu that I wanted to eat. So I did.
But not before I had ordered a chilli pomegranate Martini. By myself. At lunch time. That, people is how to eat alone with confidence. With my St. Martini, I had some unbearably moreish ‘Cafe Crisps’- the spicing upon which I see is being debated by online foodies across London. It was a bit tangy and a bit spicy. And red. And possibly contained crack cocaine. Then calamari that was good- especially the crispy tentacles. The main carapace seemed less inclined to crisp up, but was flavourful and zingy. The lamb chops were OK. But in all honesty not as good as the ones at Lahore Karahi in Tooting that I blogged about in May last year- at a third of the price. The black daal lacked complexity but was tasty. A simple pinch of salt would have worked wonders. The garlic naan was the best I’ve ever had.
And then I asked for the bill. But instead of asking for the bill I said ‘And actually, I’ll just try the Murgh Malai too and a Thums Up please.’
A Thums Up is ‘Coke- Bombay style’ and instantly transported me back, not to the days of the Raj but the Soda Stream in the pantry of my parents old house. Murgh Malai is charred and spiced chicken which was nice enough but improved immeasurably with my own addition of tamarind dipping sauce.
And then I asked for the bill again. And it was £36.50. Which is a lot for one person on a tuesday lunch time. That’s not Dishooms fault- they are incredibly inexpensive for what and where they are. Its my fault for ordering enough food for two people. All of which I scoffed and then licked the bowls out. Because I am a greedy pig.
And am now going to the gym.