Deb and I had our lunch at Fortnum and Mason’s Fountain Restaurant last Wednesday before the Panto. Its a pleasant room in shades of mint and white with the F & M crest in gold highlighted fretwork, large windows looking out on to busy Jermyn Street, marble tables, crisp linen, heavy silverware, comfortable seating and very attentive waitstaff. And the food was excellent.
Based on Jonathan’s recommendation we both had the Cêpes mushrooms in garlic cream to start – just the right amount of garlic to set off the woodsy mushers. Deb decided on the Seared Chicken Liver salad as her mains – ruccolo, lentils, large bacon bits and chicken liver, all crusty on the outside and pink on the inside. She was mightily pleased with her choice.
And that would be himself – looking like a deer caught in the head lights, there is a reason I don’t post photos of myself too often – tucking into his Welsh Rarebit with grilled tomato and thick bacon rashers. Rarebit can often end up tasting like a bland grilled cheese sandwich – but this was a tangy blend of very old Cheddar, ale and mustard. And I had to have an order of Chips to go with it – you’ll notice they came in a a silver bucket lined with a white linen napkin – classy and tasty. A glass of Pouilly Fuissé, at a very reasonable price, was a fine accompaniment. Deb being a wise woman skipped the sweet menu but I had a light Butter Milk and Honey Pana Cotta with roasted figs. We just had time for coffee, pay the bill and dash over to the Picaddilly Tube station and head across the river for the Panto.
During lunch I had glanced out the window and saw that Thomas Pink was having a shirt sale. We didn’t have time after lunch so retraced our steps after the Panto. Let me explain that when you have an athletic build like mine – waits patiently for hysterical laughter to die down – it is difficult to get dress shirts that fit in North America. If I get the right neck size the shoulders are down around my elbows and the cuffs trail like gorilla paws; if I get the right sleeve length I turn a bright red and my Margaret Rutherford-like chins give me the air of a Dickensian bailiff about to foreclose on a poor widow. But shirt stores like Pink’s have dress shirts in every conceivable size combination and style. A few whip rounds of the old tape measure and the friendly salesperson – a young lady from Virginia of all places – produced two shirts one French blue, one white, regular one-button cuff, button-down collar, size 16 neck, size 34 1/2 sleeve. The credit card was whipped out – American Express stockholders made happy and I now have 3 dress shirts that actually fit.
22 gennaio – San Vincenzo Martiri