Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Feast and famine
Sitting here waiting for the call from the hospital to say yes or no to a hospital bed today. Yesterday we took ourselves off to London to have our this time final day of freedom. You will know by now that any such trip will involve me searching for a good place to eat; I did and we found it and managed to keep to the prix fixe menu which was absolutely no hardship. We went to Galvin La Chapelle in the City (for foreign readers this is the bit of London that is full of bankers and hedge fund managers if you will excuse the bad language). The restaurant is the latest enterprise by the Galvin brothers who have other fancy and less fancy eateries spread over our capital city. Giles Coren has chosen it for his wedding reception so I thought it might be worth the £25 for the fixed price menu. We had to walk past the HQ of Royal Bank of Scotland to get there, which seems to take up almost all of Bishopgate, a formerly ancient and venerable London street. It is humungously large and had we not been running a little late for our meal we would have gone in and demanded to see their accounts or at least used their toilets as we are, like the rest of our countryfolk, very reluctant but very major share holders.
The ratpack were out in strength once we got to La Chapelle as most tables were full of chaps in very expensive suits looking smug and not in the least ashamed that they were eating out, not on the Prix Fixe, but using taxpayers', ie my hard earned, money.
The food was superb, the veloute of watercress to start arrived with a tiny display of duck eggs, fresh cress and strips of smoked duck, for a moment I thought that was it and thought that was why they were only charging £25 for it all but then they came and poured over the greenest looking soup I have ever seen. Can you imagine all those anti-oxidants? It was probably the best soup I have ever eaten and don't forget that I am married to Mr Soup whose own watercress takes a bit of beating. I then had a cod thing with artichokes and the tastiest aioli ever, Stewart had calves liver and caramelised onions; we had chosen the cheapest bottle of wine on the menu at £18 and if you ever go there do the same thing because it was a fantastic Tempranillo and why pay more (didn't stop our subsidised fellow diners however). We made lots of orgasmic noises and so the purpose of filling our this time last day of freedom was well met and I am satisfied that Giles has chosen well for his wedding; for the food at least, can't speak for the bride.
On then to the Tate Modern to see the Arshile Gorky exhibition. Unfortunately I had a bout of chemo collapse on the way and found I simply could not put one foot in front of the other. It's a lesson to me as I start to feel better each time and think I can just go back to my old energetic self. Anyway we jumped in a taxi (well I sort of fell into it!) and I kept sitting down round the exhibition ostensibly to gaze admiringly at the pictures. In fact I was gazing admiringly, his stuff is wonderful. The studies of himself and his mother were my favourites and incredibly moving. His Mom had died of starvation in Armenia when he was twelve and before the family could join his father in the US. She was an amazingly beautiful woman and I couldn't but think about the contrast with the meal we had just eaten and her terrible fate. We may have hit on hard times thanks to those f***ing bankers and their like and we know that there are lean times ahead but we have no idea, do we, what real want is like.
Talking of want, I know I really don't want to go in today and have the dreaded pink needle again and feel all that stomach churning but like Mrs Gorky I have little choice but to meet my destiny; some of her son's work had the look of pink needles and the contents of stomachs so I will wonder if I too may inspire great art and anyway I'll just bite the bullet and go and get on with it.