In the Heel of Italy

It was the last Friday before Christmas
and the lengthy lunch break was near ended,
when two travellers sought shelter and food.
But the Apulia boss shook his head,
“There is no room. We have nowhere for two.”
They were standing by an empty table.
“This one,” they said. “A group of three might come.”
+++The two sat down. Served with friendly banter
+++they watched diners depart and none enter.

The warm efficiency of the servers
could not elevate the dishes and drink
to the expectations from the prices.
The eighteen pound house wine was diddly-squat.
The six tiny bread rings, came with the wine,
but with only one down the mains were served.
+++The pasta pile in mud was a dismay
+++while the vegan pizza was just okay.

A sure sign of greed in a management
is when Service Charge is stuck on the bill.
Twelve and a half percent in this instance.
The Catholic church demanded only ten
and was offering eternal salvation
(T&C apply). All very feudal.
+++So, it was coins to the serfs who’d been nice
+++though Apulia’s bland fare has a grand price.

(Apulia, Long Lane, London EC1A)

Apulia’s tagliatelle antara plus a bread ring


We find a free table.
Wait. Bide. No waiter comes.
We find menus ourselves.
Peruse. No Waiter comes.
I go to the toilet,
Flick at the hands-free tap.
Flap at this blind Cyclops.
Waggle. No water comes.
We signal we’re ready.
Wait. Bide. No waiter comes.
Sunday night at Prezzo:
We come. We wait. We go.
++Unresponsive sensor.
++Unresponsive servers.

(Prezzo, Brighton Marina)

Akash, Don’t Ah-Ask

Four guys went to the Akash in Burnham,
but before the final two were seated,
the group was told “You want eight papadum”.
This sharp injunction was thrice repeated.
The four guys had not opened their menus
when they were told “You want four Cobra beer”.
Asking for one tap water, just three booze,
caused a look of derision with a sneer.
They ordered four, but eight papadums came,
with chutney so thin it spilled when rotated.
The flavour of the mains was just as lame,
biryani rice met meat – when plated.
++“You want four guys” to return to Akash?
++Then exhibit good taste and be less brash.

Chutney arc on tablecloth, Akash, Burnham
Chutney arc on tablecloth, Akash, Burnham

(Akash restaurant, Burnham, Bucks)

Sunken Standards in Marina

Shall I compare you to some other day
when you were more lovely, considerate?
This time you wiped our table without spray,
so glass and surface formed a bonded state.
You left a trail of drops pouring our wine.
We sought the napkin to clean up your mess.
Of thrice asked tap water there was no sign.
We sought a willing naiad procuress.
Twice we told staff of no toilet paper.
We sought the boss but still none came from store.
We sought a spoon to share our quinoa.
We sought the chilly draught and closed one door.
++So long have we dined here pleasurably.
++“So long,” if this is your normality.

Tasty Leggera pizza and Superfood salad

(Pizza Express, Brighton Marina)

Winter solstice salutations from William

Best wishes for a healthy, rewarding and joyful astral new year

sny_121221 solstice lunar eclipseMy year past included, on Friday 13-Dec-13 . . .

Little Willie and Luvlady set off
for the Telscombe Cliffs Tavern, there to quaff
a glass of wine in armchairs by the fire,
and reflect on the things they both admire.

“You can’t sit there, that table is reserved,”
cried the server. They knew; they had observed.
“WHEN they arrive,” said Willie, “we’ll change seat.”
“That table is reserved!”   “Yes, BUT we’ll shift tout de suite.”

Luvlady added, “We came for a drink,
and can move two glasses quick as a blink.”
“You can’t sit there,” was the stubborn refrain.
So they left, to never return again.

Little Willie and Luvlady set off
next door to the Badger’s, where they did quaff
glasses of wine in armchairs by the log fire,
reflecting on the things they both admire.

Note: The background of the image of the solstice moon’s eclipse is from NASA’s Picture of the Day where there is an explanation and picture credits.

Unwanted in France and Spain, welcomed to Mexico

The day after our horror at Hotel du Sham, Luvlady and I had seats at the New Venture. To make the evening special we had decided on a relaxed pre-theatre dinner in Brighton.

Côté, Brighton. Non!
Côté, Brighton. Non!

Past five o’clock on a drizzly day, Côté was half empty. Yet we could only have a table “if you vacate it by six”. We walked out. We had learned in Hotel du Sham the consequences of ignoring instinct. And memory. The first of our visits to Côté had seen them attempt to serve the mains while we were halfway through our starter. We are now sure Côté operates to 1950s holiday camp meal sittings.

Agua Dulce, Brighton. No!
Agua Dulce, Brighton. No!

Luvlady and I squished to Agua Dulce, where the patron had always looked after us well. He wasn’t there and a woman, eventually ambling to us, directed us to the smallest table in a back corner. There was not one other customer in the restaurant. Luvlady pointed to the table we preferred, one big enough to accommodate more than one tapas plate at a time. The whole restaurant “was booked for the evening”. Seeing the rain outside we compromised and said we’d move two cushioned chairs to her chosen table with its solid seats. This was tantamount to vandalism and she marched off. Luvlady and I walked out.

Dos Sombreros, Brighton. Si!
Dos Sombreros, Brighton. Si!

The previous time we visited Dos Sombreros was after gate-crashing the Green Party Conference, when we had supper of a cocktail each and shared nachos. We bemoaned the complimentary salsa dips were no longer offered and complained about the excessively loud music in the upstairs room with just the two of us. I suggested that less or no ice in the margarita would be preferable and, when the bill came, successfully argued the cocktails were discounted for two. This evening the server at Dos Sombreros remembered us and was as friendly and welcoming as on our previous visit. We enjoyed an excellent value-for-money meal. It was tainted only by my guilt on reading in the menu the discount was for two cocktails of the same kind.

To which of the three will we return? Which will we not recommend?

Walking out of Brighton restaurants

We were penalised for being a twosome in El Mexicana. With tables for four empty, the server still insisted we sat at a table for two. It was the smallness of a chess board and ideally suited for a game with multiple tapas dishes, plates, glasses, bottle, condiments.  Would a dustpan and brush be provided for the inevitable?

Wood hard seating in Strada so we moved ourselves to one wood, one padded bench. The wine list had no house red wine under £17. The restauranteur’s rip-off.  Walked out and walked in four doors up the street for under £9 a bottle of good red, and very tasty food at The Courtyard.