Date of Last Visit: Wednesday, April 30th
The Victims: Aunt Ursula, Uncle George
The Damage: £50 or thereabouts
The Background: U&G have been to see the Tower of London. I've stayed home to catch up on life, but I find myself quickly at loose ends. They call me to punch in around noon and I express my boredom and offer to meet them for lunch.
They are so very cold and wet when I pick them up at the Starbucks on Shad Thames that traveling for food is not an option. We walk into the first restaurant available, which is the bar at The Butler's Wharf Chophouse.
I love having no expectations. I assume my food at the Chophouse will be good, but not great. I assume service will be okay. They exceed our expectations in so many ways as to have me repeatedly wonder out loud, "And why is it that I have never eaten here before?"
Firstly, the bread. There's bread with rosemary in it. It's amazingly good and zingy. When our bread bowl is empty, my uncle asks our server to just fill it up with the rosemary slices. Over on the sideboard, there's an oasis of bread. Hundreds, if not thousands of slices, ready to be served. We are enraptured. (OK, I am exaggerating on the thousands bit.)
Secondly, my carrot soup. It's the perfect remedy to such an awful, awful day. It is warm and comforting and salty and (perhaps not surprisingly) full of carrots. I am in love.
Thirdly, the fish and chips. This is my aunt and uncle's first and only experience with fish and chips in London. My uncle is a heavy duty recreational fisherman. We're talking tuna, here, mainly. Lots and lots of tuna. He used to have a license plate that said Blue Fin. (Don't worry, he understands more than most about what's happened to the world's stocks of blue fin tuna.) My point in telling you this is that he's caught the fish and cooked it himself (or skipped the cooking entirely and just eaten it directly). He knows fresh fish. And he is in love with his fish and chips. He notes that if the fish were any fresher, it would leap from the plate. Days later, and they are still talking about the fish and chips with that starry sort of wondrous look in their eyes.
The Verdict: I will be back, and I'll order my own fish and chips thank you.