Friday, 20 November 2009
Last night we ate at Chez Marcelle on Blythe Road. We got there at 8.30, starving. I'd had a puncture and had to do a death-defying drive across London with a flat back tire. I'd dropped my scooter at the garage and then walked - three miles at least - to the restaurant, wearing impractical clog boots. Archie cycled and we both turned up more or less as the same time. The restaurant was almost empty and looked so unpromising. Too brightly lit. The menus were laminated. There was a vase of plastic flowers on each table... I was feeling tired and hungry and grumpy. Marcelle took our order and we drank some Lebanese wine and waited and waited - 40 minutes probably. I was on the verge of demanding we leave, when the food arrived. And Oh! - was it worth the wait. First a huge bowl of fattoush, very, very finely chopped and freshly dressed like I've never had before, with sumac and radishes and crunchy toasted pita. We had about seven different small dishes: plump, spicy Lebanese sausages; smoky, smooth moutabal; fried halloumi - everything was made completely from scratch (hence the wait), and everything was totally delicious and extraordinarily cheap. We agreed it was one of the best suppers we'd ever had in London.