Where is Polonius?
At supper. Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. – Hamlet
An “old” friend suggested I would enjoy a curry at a restaurant in Brick Lane, and since I did not know gwen I would get another chance, I ventured forth. The ambience of the area is well known, and I was able to fend off the enthusiastic purveyors of spices lining the streets only by pretending that I was German and answering, “Nein, danke!” to each solicitation.
Reaching the restaurant itself, we were shown upstairs to what appeared to be a cubist impression of the Lascaux caves, just after the base coat and before the fiddly pictures of animals went up. The acoustics were somewhere between paleolithic riot and the reaction to the first performance of Stravinsky’s The Rites of Spring, or something similarly heathernish. This was mostly due the existence of a large group of what appeared to be teachers, whose fare was largely what one might call neo-traditional. I think I heard one claim to teach RE. My impression was not positivest. In fact I have rarely encountered such surreal anarchy.
I regret to say that affairs took a turn ford the worse when the food was unaccountably delayed by about an hour, I presume because of the excessive demands of reading all the menu books distributed to the 32 seated around us. We survived on poppadoms, some relish and several glasses of wine, while the room became more mobile around us. These people actually got out of their seats and went to talk (shout) to each other.
I had ordered a chicken tikka masala, which did not arrive. My companion had ordered a lamb jalfrezi which I shared – an unfortunate choice, as it turned out, since the levels of capsaicinoids it contained destroyed my taste buds, burnt my mouth and scorched my lips. When I eventually wrested the chicken tikka masala from the good servingman, there were five pieces of chicken floating in a bowl of soup. Further investigation revealed a sixth, which was very good. At this point, of course, almost anything would have tasted good, given that I was starving and had no taste buds.
My companion was distracted by the need to dm Thomas, so at this stage of proceedings it was time to think, to read, to muse or time to tweet. How lulu are the English, I wondered, to adopt curry as a traditional British dish? And what does this bodil for the future? The question is perhaps merely grist for the mill, or ash ford the wind. I could not get a lock on an answer, instead feeling more and more like a big kid amongst these articulate, fluent, gregarious and above all loud curry enthusiasts. Being trapped in a small booth in such circumstances had become bexing. We decided we were reddy to leave.
Making our way through the late night throngs, scenting the exotic spices (and herbs) on the East End air, I brushed up on my Italian as my next line of defence: “Non parlo inglese, ragazza”, whatever that means. As we threaded our course along the kirby, I was pleased that I did not have to rely on any secondary source for my account of the evening. As I told my companion: the experience, Horatio, speaks for itself.