Packed in a Pod

N’allez pas à Petite Pois
quand il pleut et Fait Froid.

Scurrying into Petit Pois from the driving rain and freezing wind, O brought the Winter Weather inside with him. The single flimsy door opened on to proximate tables, whose occupants flashed Glowering Glances at him before O could force the door back into its frame. A server hung O’s soaking anorak over the several coats piled on the few hooks, resembling layers of weeping Shallot Scales.

The square dining room had no discernible heat. It was a temperature not Comfortable Cosy, especially with the often dawdling entry or egress through the door of the inconsiderate. The room had no floor. It was not visible under the Terrace of Tables. The walls had old tiles that Bounced a Brouhaha of screeched laughs and Vying Voices round the room. Dankness, Décor, Din, gave O the sensation of Packed Pullulating Patrons in a Pissoire.

The diner adjacent to O sat obliquely to her table such that one crossed leg continually invaded the Slight Space understood by O. Seated on the banc opposite, P tussled for hip space against the soaked rainwear the adjoining diners had piled on the bench in the No No-man’s land between tables.

Walking along the street afterwards, O tried to recall the almost Forgotten Food, its presentation perhaps, its taste maybe. O’s anorak – now wetted on its inside as well as soaked on the out – was proving too much of a Damp Distraction. As had been the Alienating Ambience of Petit Pois on this Nasty Night.

(Petit Pois, Brighton)


An Oasis with Mirage Moments

Oasis Park & SPA, Lloret de Mar, Spain.

Oasis Park & SPA wins a modest hurrah.
Mostly a shining star, these next were crepuscular.

Pool from Lobby Bar verandah.

Oasis Park & SPA had beds quite singular,
disconcertingly thin, they were hard to stay in.
Even for one who’s svelte there’s need for a seatbelt,
or pillows on the floor to catch one’s slightest yaw.

I am sitting after midday on the bedspread in our bedroom. The cover is quaintly bygone but the bed is patently lie-straight-upon. A topological taunt for two. To get them side by side means Continue reading “An Oasis with Mirage Moments”

Breakfast with Rainbows

Sat on a small headland, ringed by coastal path,
this hotel is an icing cascade, tier on tier.
Floor five for reception (at street level behind),
down to one’s room where cacti and bare rock appear,
in the passage not the comfortable bedroom.
Great location, kind staff, fine food. Il va sans dire,
a memorable holiday,
in the most favourable way.

Barceló Santiago, tier on tier.

Our room was custom made for Hymir and Hroðr,
not one but two Brobdingnag beds, an arena
of crisp cotton grand enough for Olympic games.
Continue reading “Breakfast with Rainbows”

No Homage to Catalonia Here

In May 1809 Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr with 18,000 troops laid siege to Girona. After enduring disease, famine and privations, the city capitulated in December. Now L’Arcada is recreating for its customers that appalling experience.

As Saint-Cyr took aeons to establish his siege positions, so L’Arcada restaurant’s troops torment new arrivals by being busy elsewhere, though few tables are occupied. They remain empty as the reinforcement diners arrive, wait fruitlessly for orders, then retreat to elsewhere. We were weary but dogged. Our ordering was a staccato exchange of sullen canon. We explained ours would be a joint assault on the shared salad and pizza. Continue reading “No Homage to Catalonia Here”

Don’t Defy the Don

Why was Don Carlos so grumpy with us?
We moved from his choice of ludicrous
to a bigger table far from the door,
where tapas plates wouldn’t fall to the floor.
A small surface means crocks are not stable.
He should put a cake-stand on each table.

The food was fine, well, three out of four.
The chickpea with spinach got my top score,
while the omelette with prawns and garlic greens
was cooked just right. So too the sardines.
But the roast veg had been stewed unto death,
smothered with passata as its last breath.

Why were you so grumpy with Don Carlos?
Because at the time to say adios
a more expensive wine was on our bill
and ten percent that would go in his till.
It wasn’t pleasant arguing our case
with the Don who conceded with bad grace.

Casa Don Carlos four tapas

(Casa Don Carlos, Brighton)


Double Dosa

I’m not going back to Indian Summer!
You thought it excellent, she said. So why?
Coz my expectations would be too high.

Was it sharing just one two-course set meal?
Not with papads and pickles canapés,
then dosa, thali, gratis soups and sorbets.

You’re making it sound more french than indian.
Concerning food quality, you are right.
Not the staff – they were helpful and polite.

I said going back would be a mistake.
You thought it just as good, she said. So why?
Coz my literary pen has run dry.

How can I write an incisive review
on friendly staff and a pukka menu?

(Indian Summer, Brighton)

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