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English Cuisine – Chapter II
By John Bowerman-Davies

I hadn’t anticipated writing about English cuisine again so soon, but sadly my mother passed away unexpectedly on the day before my fiftieth birthday, and therefore, I flew to England for the funeral. Those of you who met my mother during her visits to the States know that she held with the view that there should be no mourning or weeping when there was life to be lived and enjoyed. Therefore in keeping with her wishes, her life was toasted at a number of dinners.

My first day and night in England was spent in Rye (both of my regular readers will remember that this is in the bottom right hand corner of England), and as is my habit, I dined at the Flushing Inn (01797-223292). Once again the Royal Platter of smoked and fresh fish was out of this world – especially the fresh crab. Instead of lamb, I chose the steak this time, and of course the double helpings of the fresh, perfectly cooked vegetables. And to finish, a wonderful helping of Stilton. Of course this was all washed down with a great bottle of Beaune selected by Mr. Flynn himself.

As I wandered back down the road after this magnificent meal, I noticed that my usual pub was still open, so I popped in for a quick pint of local bitter (beer). Please note that if you drink alcohol, don’t even think about driving in England! I suppose that’s pretty good advice no matter where you are… Anywhere where was I? In the pub having a pint. Now the publican’s wife had obviously been having a few herself, probably celebrating the fact that the publican was not around. But when closing time came, she went upstairs to her apartment, and did not appear again. This left myself and four other "regulars" sitting in a quandary – actually we were sitting on bar stools. So we enjoyed another couple of rounds, left the money on the bar, and locked the door behind us. Only in England!

The next evening found me in the Croydon Steak House in South Croydon with one of my sisters and her significant other. A wonderful little restaurant run by a couple from Greek Cyprus. (Note: it’s important to know the difference between the Greek and Turkish sides, especially if you work for the Greeks!) Good simple food at very reasonable prices.

The following evening I was with my other sister, her children, their spouses (where applicable), and a family friend. This time I was in London, or to be precise, in Hollywood Road, Chelsea. We ate at a wonderful restaurant two doors from my sister called Brinkley’s (0171-351-1683). Since there were nine of us, they sat us in the garden. Fortunately, the "garden" is completely enclosed and heated. The food again was wonderful with emphasis on freshness and inventiveness. I would strongly recommend that you make a reservation when you visit. Everything was so good, but unfortunately, I made the mistake of ordering an espresso – not a good idea. My readers will also remember that I seem to be unable to obtain a good espresso unless I make it myself. My next article will have to be THE GREAT E(X)SPRESSO DILEMMA – Chapter II.

The final night in England was spent in North Cheam (to the south of London), and we ate at a delightful restaurant called La Gondola. Once again everything was perfect except the espresso, although it was a little better than the previous night. My lunches usually consisted of store bought sandwiches, and although they were bought at a variety of places, they were all very fresh and very good. One was a wonderful sandwich made with fresh wholemade bread, filled with goat cheese, pesto and lettuce. And it was only three dollars!

Yes you can eat very well in England, and at very reasonable prices. If your planning a trip to this area of the world in the near future, do not hesitate to contact me at jbdespresso@juno.com – I will be pleased to help you in anyway I can.




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