Friday, February 9, 2018


Perhaps you know how it is.  You arrive in London after a ten hour flight, and you take the Heathrow Express to Paddington and you’re completely out of it, and yet you want to plunge into the life of the city, and so you look for somewhere to eat that isn’t a chain or a dubious looking burger bar and when you see a pub named The Dickens Tavern, just off Praed Street, you think well, how bad can it be? 
         And to be fair, the Dickens Tavern is a perfectly decent inner-London boozer, the longest pub in England by some accounts, though I’m not sure that anybody’s keeping very accurate records on these things.  And so I ordered a beer and I thought well, a pie would go down pretty well with that.  And I ordered the braised beef and bone marrow pie.  And in truth I wasn’t expecting too much – but when it came it was still a disappointment.

It had obviously been microwaved, and you and I surely agree that microwaved pastry is an offence against god and man, and it came with equally microwaved mashed potatoes and veggies, and the whole thing was truly dreadful.

But you know in some strange way this was oddly pleasing, because we’re constantly hearing that London is the middle of an ongoing foodie renaissance - and in broad terms this is true enough - but it’s somehow reassuring to know that the old ancient tradition of dismal English pub food still endures.  

          There was also the consolation that since this was my first day, things could only get better.  And they did.  Of which considerably more later.

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