Bespoke in the East End
(Sunday S&M lunch…)
Can someone please tell me what in hell is up with this “bespoke” business? Lately I’ve been seeing it all over the place. The first time was in conjunction with a clothing establishment. Apparently this is no longer the situation. Because if it were, then anyone who frequents the East End of London could be in serious trouble, since everything there seems to be bespoken of these days. (So much for the traditional Cockney culture of wide boys and jellied eel.) It’s now posh all the way in the East End and, for that matter, in the famous Spitalfields Market. I mean, they even have bespoke pastry. Next thing you know it’ll be bespoke oysters, bespoke chocolate, bespoke toilets, and maybe even bespoke bangers and mash. Oh sorry, they don’t call them bangers and mash anymore. Not upmarket enough, apparently.
Which brings me to the point of this blog post: bangers (oops, I mean sausage!) and mash. What began as a covert mission on a late Sunday morning to collect my person from outside Liverpool Street station led to what could only be described as a low-speed pursuit, with my mate driving around the city for nearly an hour hunting for a place to safely deposit his car. He finally found a legal parking space a couple of blocks from St. Paul’s Cathedral… at which point we were forced to amend our plan. We would now have to get the tube from St. Paul’s, and return back to Liverpool Street (where we’d started out!), then walk in the rain to Spitalfields Market, which fortunately is covered. Unfortunately there was a big fly in our ointment – St. Paul’s tube station was shut. We made it to the market two hours later than initially planned.
Needless to say, by that time I was starving. In fact, I was SO starving that I didn’t even care anymore about perusing the goods for sale – most of which I considered vastly overpriced for what was supposed to be a traditional East End “market”. Well, at least anything I wanted to buy was overpriced. Hey, I’m a good haggler, but getting a 65 pound handbag down to the 20 quid I thought it was barely worth was likely not gonna happen. So much for all that bespoke business. Besides, I had to eat. And I had to eat something substantial. Now I ask you, what’s more substantial than Great British Grub? And there it was, mere steps away – a little cafe with steamed-up windows and a crowd of people inside and a crowd of people outside queueing to get inside. How bad could it be? Well, considering the name of the place…
Indeed, I must confess to being a wee bit concerned about entering an establishment that called itself “The S&M Cafe”. (Perhaps the owner had read one too many of my M. S. Valentine erotic novels.) And the steamed-up windows only added to my increasing sense of disquiet. However, they had on offer “The World’s Number One Comfort Food”… or so they claimed. Sounded just right for a rainy downer of a Sunday afternoon. If said comfort came in the form of a plate of sausage and mash, so be it.
Once it was established that the place was, in fact, a cafe specialising in one of England’s favourite traditional meals (at least I hoped the S&M in their name referred to sausage and mash), we went inside, where we were shown to a table by their non-traditional Turkish manager. By then I was hysterical with hunger, only to find myself in the predicament of not knowing which kind of sausage and mash to order. I perused the menu like a burglar casing out an expensive home – a menu which, of all things, also boasted an S&M Teatime. If that wasn’t worrisome enough, it was then that I noticed a card on our table that had a picture of Santa Claus with a balloon coming out of his head saying, “How about a little S&M at Christmas?”
Talk about Ho Ho Ho.
Let’s just say that my doubts as to the wisdom of entering this establishment were rapidly returning…
(Would I lie to you?)
Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: bangers and mash, bespoke, Christmas, Cockney, comfort food, East End, erotic novels, great British grub, Liverpool Street, London, M.S. Valentine, Santa Claus, sausage and mash, Spitalfields Market, St. Paul's Cathedral, The S&M Cafe, wide boys.