Tuesday, August 08, 2006

eating in london (3)

Part 1 Part 2

Diwana Part of Diwana's Buffet
Day 4 began with lunch near Euston station. Drummond St is lined with Indian eateries, which I'm surprised I didn't uncover while I lived in Camden Town. There was a now-closed restaurant I used to go to near the Camden Palace, but its food was mediocre at best. I tended to make my own, which led to Indian remaining a steady part of my diet.

After flipping through the Cheap Eats guide, I settled on Diwana Bhel Poori House, a vegetarian restaurant with a buffet. The atmosphere was not what I expected - the stained-wood tables and seats made me think of cottage country. I filled my steel plate with various tasty salads - chick peas rich with bits of tomato and coriander was the highlight. Time Out review.

Food over the next day tended to be quick snacks on the go, as I scurried to pack in as many planned destinations as possible. Sandwich shops and market stalls provided most of my fuel, as well as groceries I'd stuffed in the fridge at the residence. This mostly consisted of Mullerice, which I used to buy by the cartload. It's a product I wish could easily be found around here: creamy rice pudding mixed with fruit or other sweet ingredients. It's sold like yogurt, alongside other cool treats like quark and fool.

Mr. Isaacs Smiles The Edgar Wallace
While living in London, I was an odd duck among my classmates, as I spent little time at the local pubs. While most folks went nightly, I went weekly/biweekly, not being much of a drinker. This was soon reflected in the impression I left with the others that I was a gourmet chef. I wasn't, it's just that's where my money went instead of wheat juice. I recall at least one or two people living on bread/potato/Marks & Spencer potato and cheese pasty diets. I treated a night at the pub as that, a treat, where I could wind down with a pint of cider with the others.

Since it was World Cup season, the pubs flowed more than usual onto the sidewalks, especially during the England/Trinidad & Tobago match. Everyone appeared to be in good, if calm, spirits and I noticed little rowdiness or horn honking in central London. I usually stopped for five minutes, observed the crowd, then moved on.

I wound down Day 4 by meeting up with my friend Paul for a pint at the Edgar Wallace. Located near Covent Garden on Devereux Court, the pub is named after the writer, who was working on the script for King Kong when he died in 1932. While I was mildly disappointed to find that the cider on tap was the same as home, a pint of Strongbow and a bag of crisps is a refreshing way to wind down the afternoon.

The cider also relaxed me after a battle with British Telecom payphones. Unlike Ma Bell, BT charges by the minute and is not averse to cutting you off in mid-sentence with no warning or failing to connect you period while eating your change. Since technology is one of the few things to bring my childhood temper back to the surface, several phones along Charing Cross Rd felt my wrath. I wouldn't have been surprised if bypassers thought I was looney.

Speaking of technology, twice I lost portions of this post while preparing it - therefore, there will be an additional thrilling chapter! - JB

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