Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in a family photo

 

LONDON, MAY 2016 [on Twitter]

⏩ Hi Shahnaz! Just booked your supperclub! Can’t wait! Aaron

⏩ Yay! Look forward to meeting you! 🙂 Shahnaz

⏩ Me too! Just a chance I might be late. I’m a doctor, so never know what the day will bring.

⏩ You’re a doctor? So, this is a bit of a random question – but did you have a relative who was also a doctor in Manchester in the 1970s? My mother has always spoken very fondly of a Doctor Vallance..

 

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Kaki, review of a restaurant in London serving Sichuan and northeastern Chinese food

Entering this place, it feels like a crime-scene. Except there’s been no crime. Victims maybe, but technically no crime. There was never a police cordon or chalked silhouette on the floor; forensics never dusted the furniture for fingerprints.

After all, the incident never happened here, not within these four walls. Instead, it was committed over the austere pages of a national broadsheet, in a review of this restaurant published this time last year.

If nothing else – and what a lot of angst and hurt and anger that phrase just circumvented – the review told me about Kaki, this place across town that specialises in the cuisines of Sichuan and northeastern China. But to be honest, that really seems the least of it.

It’s not often that a restaurant review gets embroiled in accusations of racism. The first I heard of it was through the maelstrom of distressed and angry tweets that had quickly formed in its slipstream, and which compelled me to read the article for myself to see what the furore was about. View Post

Summer dish of crudo sea trout and microleaves at London restaurant Clipstone

Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape.. Clipstone

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

 

“Fell into a sea of grass
And disappeared among
The shady blades.
Children all ran over me
Screaming tag! You are the one!

Summertime Rolls, Jane’s Addiction

 

Wake up, it’s a beautiful morning,
Feel the sun shining for your eyes.
Wake up, it’s so beautiful,
For what could be the very last time..

Wake Up Boo, The Boo Radleys

 

*

 

Maybe it’s just me, but some places just seem to exude a particular atmosphere, one that especially suits one season or another.

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The multi-colored Viennetta at Chez Bruce takes me back the to 1980's

Wall Street traders. Space Invaders.
Arcade dreams. Custard creams.
Kylie and Jason. Thatcher and Reagan.
HP sauce. Inspector Morse.

Band Aid. Live Aid. Cherry-ade. Kwik Save.
HIV, MTV, TUC, SDP.
Del Boy and Rodney. Deirdre on Corrie.
Just Say No. Farmer Barleymow.

Striking miners. Flash designers.
Berlin wall. Maradona’s handball.
Virgin Atlantic. Sticky-backed plastic.
Baywatch beach. Papa Don’t Preach.

Big hair. Polo necks. BHS. VHS.
ET. BT. Mr T. Ford Capri.
Donkey Kong and Pac Man. Now it’s Captain Caveman!
Scooby Dooby Doo, Where are you?

 

*

 

Ahh, the ‘80s.. That deeply-troubled decade of social inequality and oversized shoulder pads. And what of it? Why is my mind suddenly cast there?

Because right now I’m looking at a menu at Chez Bruce – a well-regarded restaurant on the verge of Wandsworth Common – and standing out from the text like a flashing blue siren from an ’80’s police procedural, is a word that takes me right back to that very decade: “Viennetta”…

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Shittake mushroom bao is an umami hit at Daddy Bao in Tooting.
I remember when it all came to an end. I was 13 years old, much older than I cared to admit to my friends at the time. And when it was all over, my dad and I took a while to come to terms with our shared loss.

For that was the moment – sorely conflicted, but with my mind decidedly made-up – that I told my dad the time had come: from now on, there’d be no more bedtime stories.
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