Having a night in London and spotting that Dexys were playing a run of ten nights in The Duke of York’s Theatre was too good an opportunity to miss. So I bought my ticket last week and slipped out my hotel late in the afternoon to pick it up.
Having picked up my ticket I was told that the show would start at 8.00 rather than 7.00 which gave me a couple of hours to kill and get something to eat in and around Soho.
Last time I had been London I had tried to squeeze Kristen and myself into Barrafina for just one plate of tapas but we had been dismissed and told that the wait for a seat was at least 45 minutes.
I had better luck this time by myself and was able to sit myself down on one of the spare seats up at the bar. I then found myself being moved a few times so as to accommodate new couples coming in. This didn’t matter at all.
I started with a glass of Manzanilla and a plate of clams cooked in olive oil and garlic and a small basket of bread to mop up the juices. I was given a knife and fork but there didn’t seem much point and I slurped at the small nuggets of meat in each shell. Furtling the shells around the plate with my fingers to make sure nothing was missed.
Having whetted the appetite I started on a plate of prawns with garlic. They came so quick from the grill they were too hot to hold and in my eagerness to get into the first one a splash of juice squirted across the bar. The garlic was cooked to a crisp and just on the right side of not being burnt. All that was wrong was that I could have done with more than four of them.
Next up was a glass of red wine and grilled quail with more garlic. I started on this with the knife and fork but soon resorted to my fingers. Dipping the pieces of flesh into the yellow garlic mayonnaise and then chewing away at the small bones. I felt slightly scruffy all the way down from Liverpool compared to the rest of the people sat up at the bar. I am not sure too many of them were planning on making their way to Dexys once they had finished eating.
After the oil and garlic I felt like something clean and fresh so I had a plate of salad. Fennel and radish finely sliced and mixed with a light dressing and pomegranate seeds. It did the job perfectly.
Having wiped away the last of the grease from my beard I paid the bill and walked out into the early evening and made my way to the theatre.
Any complaints – well it was expensive and I could have done with a good plate of chips to fill me up a bit.
I tried to take my food stained paper menu away with me but they insisted on giving me a clean one.
There was time for a quick pint before I took my seat in the theatre. Dexys played for almost two and a half hours and at one point I found myself getting overwrought as they started on I Love You (Listen To This), one of the many highlights on Don’t Stand Me Down. The whole violin, trombone, redemption combination all getting too much for me on top of the good food and wine. Thank God they didn’t do Reminisce, Pt. 2 as I would have been left a blubbering mess.
Afterwards I walked back through the streets of London and then along The Embankment back to the hotel.