- Food & Drink
All my holidays begin the same way. There’s me, there’s the stuff I want to take on holiday with me and there’s my suitcase. We stay as far apart from each other as possible until approximately 20 minutes before I need to leave. Then I gather up my clothes and become convinced it all needs ironing. Once I’ve pressed my knickers and swimsuits, there’s the time consuming ritual of rolling them into tiny cloth sausages and stuffing them around open bottles of shampoo, plug adapters and 1/2 a dozen novels, just to make sure they are thoroughly creased and ruined when I get there.
This frenzy of packing completely destroys several synaptic connections in my brain. Specifically, the ones connected with remembering whether or not I unplugged the iron, turned the hob off or set fire to my bed. This means I have to go back to my flat at least 3 times to check it isn’t in flames or already full of burglars before I can get so much as a toe on public transport.
Consequently, I always arrive at airports in sweaty hysterics, which is why Leonard’s suggestion that we meet at The Wolseley for breakfast before heading to Heathrow was genius. Instead of staggering into Terminal 5 leaking snot and fear, I fell through the doors of The Wolseley and had my holiday neurosis instantly soothed by the gliding calm of the waitress who ushered me to my seat.
I sat at the table a ragged heap of inappropriate clothes and bulging hand luggage. 5 minutes later, with an elegant pot of English breakfast tea firmly in my grasp, I was a woman reborn. Over the next 20 minutes DJ and Leonard arrived puffing and panicking and a similar transformation took place. Fretting about whether or not we’d packed toothbrushes was replaced with strategic breakfast plotting.
In spite of being sat in front of a Viennoiserie table display so golden I swear it had its own halo, I was determined to be good. Good here stands for “order the omelette Arnold Bennett.” It has fish in it, therefore it’s a health food.
An open-faced, flannelly sun in a bowl, it was the acme of omelettes. Silken pools of cream and spongy clouds of eggs were ribbed with chunks of flaking haddock. I had to regularly put my knife and fork down to resist shovelling it into my mouth in one go. Even with the cutlery on the table, it was hard work to not just shove my face in the plate.
Leonard ordered pancakes with bacon after being assured that it would come with maple syrup. The porridge-eating man next to us was fascinated by the meal when it arrived. So much so, he overcame his natural British reticence to ask what this foreign and exotic dish was. We just about got the concept across to him before Leonard finished inhaling it, but only just.
DJ ordered the kedgeree, which came topped with a softly poached egg. I managed to dig a fork in before she finished and it was perfect.
The bill for the 3 breakfasts, 3 pots of tea, a round of wholemeal toast and service came to £16.60 each. I’d normally consider this an incredible amount to spend on a weekday breakfast but as it marked the point in time when my minibreak officially began, it gets filed under Mysteriously Affordable While On Holiday and I will worry about it and eat gruel next month.