For our evening meal on Wednesday we eventually made it to Morito on Exmouth Market. Although the hotel room was small there was a temptation to put our feet up, buy in sandwiches from the very smart Planet Organic shop round the corner and leave it at that. But I was determined not to miss out on the opportunities to be had on a night out in London.
So we strode out towards Clerkenwell maps in hand to be consulted at every major junction in case we had lost our bearings. The walk was slightly longer than the original 10 minutes or so estimated by me but before too long we got to Exmouth Market and after a couple of minutes working out our west from east found ourselves outside Morito.
It looked busy and full and pushing open the door we were instantly met by a severe lady in black who told us we could go into the queue and there would be a 45 minute wait. That did not seem too bad and I passed on my number and we went off to find amusement. That was not too difficult and took the form of the pub round the corner. Despite it being November we sat outside and a pint was drunk until bang on the 45 minutes the shrill sound of the phone went off and we were in.
We were sat round a corner of the orange bar and were presented with typed menus on half pieces of paper.
I have spent a large part of the last 10 years or so cooking food of one sort or other out of the various Moro cook books and it was difficult to resist the temptation to just go for everything there was so I could taste in all.
With a deep breath I managed to restrain myself and we restricted ourselves to three dishes each.
Kristen had pedron peppers, patatas bravas and jamon and chicken croquetas. The pedron peppers were the best ever, the potatas bravas not quite as good as mine. The croquetas were delicious – crisp and hot to the fingers with a deep mellow soft unctuous filling.
I had spiced lamb, aubergine, yogurt & pine nuts, salt cod croquetas and quail a la plancha, sweet onion, olorosso & onion. It was all dirty fingerly good white paper napkins on the floor. So good I then had to have a glass of pasion de bobal and a plate of lamb chops with cumin & paprika watched on by Kristen wanting to go to bed.
Breakfast the next morning in the basement of The Arran Hotel was a desultory affair – I had poured a half cup of coffee because that was all there was and moved from my seat for a minute to find the cup gone because someone had thought it finished. This was a good incentive to get out and so we went to the Bronze exhibition in The Royal Acadamy. Amazing to see these vast shards of metal 2,500 years old bent into shapes like you and me.
After our hour of culture it was back into the tube for the afternoon visit to Central St Martins. But we got there early and wandered for a while along the strips of new land carved out for the development at the back of King’s Cross. There was a small area given over to street food and I had my breakfast – a beef enchilada chilli juice running down my fingers.
In Central St Martins the overwhelming thought was the sheer number of Apple macs of one sort or other on desks, tables and chairs providing the focus for almost everything that went on there. Although hugely impressive with its facilities it lacked some of the scuzz of Goldsmiths.
Later that afternoon we took the tube back to Leicester Square where they were setting up for the premier of another film after the last of the Twilight series the night before. Rounding corner we came across the St John Hotel and I spent a few minutes trying to persuade Kristen that we could sully some of their bright white napkins by having them giving us tea.
She was not persuaded and took us via a map on her iphone through Chinatown to the nearest Byron’s in Soho where we both had a chicken burger and very crisp, salty fries.
Back at Euston with 45 minutes to spare I remembered being told about a good pub that had somehow squeezed itself into one of the old gatehouses outside on the front of the station. We found it and after ordering a bottle of coke for Kristen had a couple of pints of a New Zealand pale ale that managed to combine all the right elements of bitter and sweet.