In that mucky post-Christmas, pre-New Year period, made even more miserable than usual by the pandemic, we had a trip into town to buy a suit for him and a book for me.+ Mission accomplished we toyed with going to the Wigmore for a bit of John Bull and spilled into the Bricklayers while we thought about it.++ The Bricklayers has always been a good abode during the pandemic (well, when it wasn’t shut) due to the friendliness of its staff and the peace that reigns in the back room where there is an excellent round table. And a dartboard.
We stared at the dartboard. James intimated that he’d been a dartist at uni but hadn’t picked up the tungsten since then. Despite being a darts fiend as a child in Southend (aside from a brief Antti Pulliainen induced toxophily during the 2012 Olympics) I too hadn’t indulged for a long time.+++ Despite our incompetence (the hawk eyed will notice that I’d rightly made two columns each on the blackboard in anticipation of our snail’s progression from 501 to a plausible finish) it was about the best hour of entertainment I’ve had this Christmas and all for the cost of two pints of Taddy Lager.
I now found that darts makes me hungry so we headed northwards in search of curry. But it being Monday a lot of places were shut (I’m guessing some of them were also just shut full stop) so by the time we were nearly at Warren Street James pointed out that the best restaurant when you’re hungry is the one you’re eating food in.++++ Wise advice and we chose to eat at Nazuki Garden based on its being the restaurant we could see when we had that discussion.
The room was empty when we got there so we took a table by the window to encourage business and perused the menu. My eyebrows lifted slightly at the prices, which are a step above our usual Japanese haunt, Shoryu Ramen, for example with vegetable tempura around the 8 quid mark and the house white coming in at 24 quid a bottle. However, these price points were justified by the quality of the product. The wine was good and the food excellent. The tempura was really light and fluffy and a generous enough portion to make a substantial starter for two alongside a slew of crispy pork gyoza. A main of pork ramen was simpler than Shoryu’s style but none the worse for that. The broth was perfectly clear and contained a good helping of perfectly cooked noodles and hunks of tasty pork. I had been thinking of having eel but decided to test out a new place with my usual orders.
Soon after we arrived a couple arrived and sat at the the table exactly next to us (in an empty restaurant!) but rather than sitting opposite one another they chose to sit side by side in a most disconcerting manner. Fortunately they weren’t the dry humping type and shortly after a family party arrived to bring a bit of distraction to the room.
At around 35 quid a head it was a little bit more expensive than I’d expected but the food and service (which was excellent) were worth it and I’ll definitely be back for eel in the future.
+ An optimistic purchase of Antwerp: The Glory Years by Michael Pye in the hope that a postponed trip with friends will finally come off in March 2022. At present even buying Ferryhill: The Glory Years (admittedly only filling a sheet of A4 (in big print)) would seem to be tempting fate.
++ It was cancelled anyway so I’m listening to Kit Armstrong play John Bull while I’m writing this instead.
+++ It may be crappy nostalgia but wasn’t it better for children to learn to play darts and snooker for hours on end when the weather was bad rather than look at garbage videos on a tiny screen?
++++ Actually he said something much cleverer than that, which was to quote General Patton saying something like it’s always better to put a good plan you already have into action rather than search for the perfect plan.
To see where else I’ve been click on the google map below.
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).