The Thinford Inn. The earliest restaurant I can remember. As a small child in Southend the closest I got to going to a restaurant was getting a takeaway from Pang's or eating a bag of crisps in a pub car park. Until I went on holiday to County Durham.
The Big C having (temporarily?) terminated restaurant going as a social activity I'll be lucky to get beyond number six this side of autumn. And unlikely to have the funds to dine out in style the other. So what is a restaurant reviewer to do?
Take a Proustian turn of course. The great man lay in his cork-lined room and let his mind do the travelling through time and space. And I intend to follow his lead. Though not in every detail you'll be glad to know, I have neither the skill nor the inclination to imitate Proust's description of the Duchesse de Guermantes' dinner over 150 pages.
Journey with me through restaurants remembered, people remembered, places remembered.
The last time I was in My Old Dutch Denis Bergkamp was playing for Arsenal and I could climb a flight of stairs at a tube station two at a time. MOD, I'm glad to say, has aged better than I have in the intervening years.
'Who on earth would have a Chicken Tikka Masala pie?!'