I was taken to breakfast at the Dean Street Townhouse this morning. In an abrupt, and hypocritical volte-face, I have recently decided that I simply love going out for breakfast. ‘Shall we meet for a breakfast or lunch?’ A nice lady emailed me last week. ‘Breakfast sounds great,’ I emailed back quickly. She chose the restaurant, and put herself firmly in my good books by setting our breakfast for 9.30am. I cycled there, so arrived nicely sweaty. I’ve never been to the Dean Street Townhouse before, but it’s glorious.
I was early (what with the cycling and all), so I quickly sat down in one of their armchairs and ordered a vat of water. ‘Would you like any juice?’ The waiter asked. ‘I hate orange juice,’ I replied firmly. ‘Um,’ The waiter stammered politely in utter confusion.
‘That’s OK. You don’t have to have orange juice.’ ‘Did you know that orange juice is the world’s most popular juice?’ I asked him fiercely. ‘No,’ He replied. ‘That’s very interesting.’ ‘Some people hate coriander,’ I continued. ‘But I hate orange juice.’ The waiter, to give him his due, had stopped frantically trying to make eye contact with his colleagues, and was quietly looking at me with pleading eyes. ‘We have apple juice and fresh grapefruit juice,’ He whispered. ‘Ooh,’ I replied. ‘I’ll have both. Thanks very much.’
It was unfortunate that my apple juice arrived first, so that I had to drink my grapefruit juice in front of my host, who handily had arrived after my little contretemps with the waiter, and was fairly puzzled when it took us a little while to track him down to order again.
Often, restaurants tell you they serve fresh juice, when what they mean by ‘fresh’ is ‘recently poured out of a carton’. The Dean Street Townhouse is not one of those places. My grapefruit juice was delicious, and so fresh that I found the occasional pip floating in it- which I politely spat onto my napkin. ‘It’s very good,’ My host said. ‘But there are pips. Why not try the orange juice?’
I had an odd experience on a recent flight. The air stewardess, who had been impeccably polite to me (though I felt she did not make a thorough enough examination of the kitchen for extra food) was short tempered and exasperated with the chap opposite. She asked him if he had any rubbish, and when he shook his head, ignored him, leant across sighing and removed a biscuit wrapper. I mean, to her, perhaps that wrapper was rubbish but he had clearly stated that to him it wasn’t. It was quite a nice wrapper, I thought, shiny and a good size. It had come with a rather thick chocolate biscuit in it. I had assumed it was two biscuits so spent a minute or so trying to wrench them apart. I then spent another minute trying to work out what to do with all the chocolate smeared across my hands. Anyway, the air stewardess didn’t reprimand me for this at all which led me to believe that something was going on between her and the gentleman opposite me. Or at least something between her and the biscuit wrapper. When I say something was going, I’m not talking about anything naughty. It was more as if he had stuck his foot in the aisle one two many times, or looked disbelieving when she told him there was no extra food (there’s always extra food! If I had been allowed in the kitchen I could have sniffed it out in a minute). Anyway, the air stewardesses’ annoyance had created a curious intimacy between herself and this passenger. Initially, I was jealous. People are always keener to find extra food for those they know. (I would just like to clarify that in my opinion food distribution on planes is done all wrong. Firstly, they take ages to get a drink in your hand. That’s the first rule of opening people. At my grandparent’s house it is often quite difficult to unload your car because of the drink in your hand. I’m not saying that’s the ideal, but it’s certainly better than the drought that happens every time you board a plane. I’ve done some research on this. Even in First Class, they only give you non-alcoholic beverages until long after you take off. Secondly, after they finally get you a drink they then start the interminable business of bringing round the first meal. I’m always asleep! I can’t remember the last time I had breakfast and lunch on a plane. I’m helping their margins! I do not want to do that. I always wake up starving in time for the ‘snack’ which as we saw with the grossly fat biscuit, is often confusing. If I ran an airline, I would welcome guests on board with a drink. I bet all those fusses over window seats and putting your luggage in the overhead locker would subside. Then I would let everyone sleep quietly for 3-4 hours, and then I’d bring round the food. Perfect. I’d also give out the snack as people left the plane-because the queues at passport control are only getting worse). Anyway, I kept a close eye on this gentleman opposite and he did not seem to get any extra food. Here are some people you should not get too close to:
1. The waiter. You might think this would be great and that you’ll get good service. In reality, because they know you you’ll probably get much worse service, and you’re obligated to tip.
2. The dentist. They are going to try and talk to you while you’ve got all that paraphernalia in your mouth. Just messy.
3. The hairdresser. I’m not great at multitasking personally, but if your hairdresser is engaged in a really interesting and salacious conversation with you, her attention is not going to be fully on your hair. Probably the back will suffer. And by the time they hold that mirror up it’ll all be too late. (I always like to use that mirror to see the other people behind me – I’m not sure I really care what my hair looks like opposite my face, I mean, its only people walking behind me who will see it. And they’re probably acolytes. Or stalkers. I don’t think they deserve to look at great hair).