Indian Lounge, Dinner With Ant Clifford, 21 January 2016

Ant Clifford and his Creative Stream Team have been partnered by a client with me and the Z/Yen team for an interesting piece of joint work.  We’ll mostly be working remotely and indeed had already made virtual progress through Skype, but Ant and I wanted a bit more face-to-face time after the first actual meeting in London.

We hatched a plan to have an early evening meal between the meeting and Ant’s 19:55 train to Sheffield.  I summarise the e-mail exchange that hatched the plan:

10 January:

Ian: What sort of food do you like?  I’ll muse a suitable venue once I know a bit more about your preferences.

Ant:I have no particular preference but love different experiences with food! Anything interesting is great!

…so much, so straightforward.  A few ideas for dining without preconditions around the Bloomsbury/Euston/Kings Cross/Clerkenwell areas start formulating in my mind.

13 January:

Ant: I’ve just realised that, with horror, I am on a gluten-free diet for 2 weeks for a…documentary!  I realise that may reduce our options significantly!

Perfectly understandable, this; happens all the time.  I often suddenly realise that someone is making a documentary about me and I’m sure most people cannot remember from one week to the next who is making what documentary about them upon which subject.  It’s hard to keep track.

Ian: Indian food is a good bet for gluten–freemen – as long as they like Indian food.  Here’s one near St Pancras, Indian Lounge, which I’ve been meaning to try as it has good reviews…

…I made a couple of other suggestions too…

14 January:

Ant:That’s great – the Indian sounds awesome!

So, Indian Lounge it was to be.  We had a really good meal, which I have reported on TripAdvisor here.  We had a great chat about all manner of subjects, from Ant’s family and interesting collection of pets/livestock, to music, not least our shared interest in baritone ukuleles, although Ant is really an accomplished guitarist/musician rather than a hobbyist/tinkerer like myself.

When the food arrived, Ant took out a packet of white powder.   “These creative types have become even more brazen as the years have gone on”, I thought to myself, trying not to look disapproving.

“The powder might or might not be gluten; it’s a double-blind trial,” said Ant, perhaps observing my expression, “shame to throw this powder all over such a nice dish. Would you mind filming me doing the sprinkling?” asked Ant. “Naturally”, I said.

The waiters seemed completely unperturbed by a diner sprinkling white powder all over their food, smiling and laughing, while another diner films the act. Perhaps it is commonplace in the Indian Lounge – we are in Kings Cross after all.

The meal was most enjoyable and the time passed quickly. A couple of times I said to Ant “keep an eye on the time”, then the third time I said, “I’m not trying to get rid of you, but there’s now only 12 minutes until your train.” Hurried goodbyes, a decision to do it again sometime and Ant dashes off for his train. Before I have even finished settling the account, I receive a reassuring text to let me know that Ant made his train just in time.

A memorable evening in many ways.

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