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Wednesday 9th June 2004

CNPS numbers spotted 5 (798).

I took date 45 to a Polish-Mexican restaurant. I think it might be the only Polish-Mexican restaurant in the world, specialising as it does in two entirely unrelated cuisines. It was housed in the oldest wine bar in Mayfair and so looked like a pub inside. I hadn't planned to go there; we'd just chanced across it and thought, "Well, we can't really go anywhere else, can we?"
To get the best out of this strange place you should really have a Mexican starter and a Polish Main course (or vice versa) with maybe a mixture of Polish and Mexican puddings for afters. But I've never eaten Polish food before and I plumped for the Eastern European half of the menu. My date did the same. The Mexican food just didn't look as good. I suspect that the proprieters were trying to run a Polish restaurant, but no-one was coming in (who'd want to eat Polish food?), so they had the brilliant idea of mixing two mutually exclusive cuisines and the punters just poured in. Just like us they couldn't resist the ridiculous combination. I ate herrings for starters. As he arrived with them the waiter said "herrings?" and I replied, "Yes, that's right, they are!" and I did a little Big Cook style chuckle. I explained to my date that this worked in two ways, meaning both more than one herring, but also belonging to Herring. She said she had understood. But if she had understood then why had she not laughed? 45 was a liar; I knew that much now. That was the only explanation.
It was a really good meal and I'd recommend the place to anyone who likes either Polish or Mexican cuisine or a strange mixture of both. It's called L'Autre (surely a French name, just to confuse things further) and it has place mats like your gran used to have and also downstairs smells like your gran's house. Perhaps your gran is working there.
On the way home in my cab, passing through Shepherd's Bush the driver was forced to brake as some men came pouring out of a pub, fists flying in the midst of a drunken fight. One of them ran across the road, pursued by two others. He then took off his belt and started swinging it around as if it was an oily chain. This just incensed his pursuers more. They went for him, and pushed him against a car that had stopped coming in the opposite direction and started kicking him about the head and face.
I have been claiming to anyone who will listen that I have been looking for some kind of real life heroic task to get involved in and maybe jumping to the drunk belt-wielding man's defence might have been a good labour. After all it was two against one and he was losing quite badly. But it looked a bit scary and for all I knew the man who thought that a belt would make a good weapon was in the wrong.
Luckily a police car arrived almost immediately. The men were too drunk to scatter very far and the situation was back in hand very quickly. I looked into the drunken eyes of one of the attackers. They were filled with feral fury and the man had the indignance that only comes from a belly full of cheap lager.
It made me pine for the harmless phone foraging men of Newcastle, for whom alcohol never leads to violence, only to a desire to burrow around in shit like some kind of crapulous mole.
Believe me, you will never see a fight like this in Newcastle.
One can only wonder what the cause of this stupid behaviour had been - aside from drink, I mean - I wonder what the belt guy had done to deserve his beating.
You'd think it must have been bad to send two men on a self destructive path into oncoming traffic.
But I suspect he just called one of their mum's a slag or something.
I love London. I think it might be a better place if there were more Mexican-Poles here.

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