The plans were laid back in late June – me to John:
I have booked Bocca di Lupo in Archer Street for 19:30 on 10 August. Happy to meet for a drink beforehand and/or turn up at the restaurant a little earlier, of course.
Then the day before the event, John to me:
Let’s meet at 6.30. Is there a pub near the caff were eating in?
That was a really tough assignment you set me – finding a drinking house in Soho. But after many hours of research I discovered just one, Graphic Bar, hidden away in the corner; 4 Golden Square W1F 9HT, within spitting distance of our caff:
Graphic turned out to be a gin palace more than a wine bar, with a young, trendy clientele and even younger and trendier staff. The waitress seemed a little disappointed in us, drinking wine rather than gin.
When I called for the bill, she asked if we wanted it split. “Oh no”, I said, “our tradition when we meet is to alternate who pays for the dinner and the other pays for pre-dinner drinks – so this is on me. We’ve been doing it this way for thirty years, since we left University.”
“Awesome,” said the waitress, “you’ve kept in touch with each other all those years, that’s really amazing. How did you do that back in the days before Facebook?”
She wasn’t joking; she really couldn’t imagine how keeping in touch might have been done. We mumbled about telephones and post; I might even have made a quip about carrier pigeons.
Then on to Bocca Di Lupo, which was really good food. The thing there is to try small plates, so we shared lots of those. I’m hoping John can remember what we tried, as my glance at the menu (in December 2016) draws mostly blanks or vague recollections, the only one really sticking in my mind being Pappardelle with wild boar ragú.
John – help!
I do remember that the food was very good, though. That I do remember. Not rush back good. Not “must take Mandy and Janie” good. But still very good.