This was a curious one. Friday evening often finds me in the Stapleton in the company of friends and this week we were peckish. The Stapleton would usually be followed by Il Pic Diav but I was hamstrung by The Rules of 2016 and had to persuade the others (and they were reluctant) to forgo the IPD and find somewhere fresh to try.
Not being at our most energetic we went across the road to Gustavo’s. At least I think that’s what it’s called, they’re not listed on google maps. Gustavo’s sign was saying ‘Closed’ but there was activity within. Friday night at 8 o’clock would be a strange time to turn away customers. We peered through the window and made willing faces to the waiter. He came to the door, turned the sign round and let us in. Shortly afterwards several other customers turned up and the room soon became over half full. I leave to the reader to decide whether Gustavo (or his minions) ever intended to open that evening.
There being no licence we had to source our booze from the Tesco’s down the road (my friend firmly ruling out a £2.99 red from the offy on the corner) and returned to order. A calamari starter, unbreaded but cooked to perfection with a little salad, was delicious but hardly enough to keep the wolf from the door. And soon it was a very hungry wolf.
Pizza came and went, but for other people. There was pizza for some diners in the room who had arrived after us but more gallingly it seemed that they were delivering takeaways to half of Crouch End.
A clearly under pressure waiter was coping manfully in the face of passive aggressive snarks from the hungry hordes at our table. Just as it was being debated whether we would decamp the pizza started to arrive. A near miss. Not everyone was happy with the pizza but I thought mine rather good. Lots of topping and a good base. Whether it was cooked in house or brought from across the road I can’t tell – the oven by the room wasn’t operating and we had no means of seeing where the things were being made.
We departed in semi-rancour and as I walked past later on the waiter was stacking the chairs at the end of service. He gave me such a mournful, baleful look that I didn’t dare take a picture from in front of the restaurant but waited till I’d sidled towards Finsbury Park to get a shot from a distance.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).