On the ninth day of Christmas . . .
A kebab roll at Lahore.
Just off the Commercial Road. Once upon a time it was the tiniest of takeaway joints. These days it's all dressed up and getting bigger every time I go there. It's now even got frontage on to the Commercial Rd.
Things don't change, though. The takeaway kebab rolls (lamb, minced and herbed, with salad, wrapped in circle of bread) are an eternal. For £3.50.
Sometimes I eat there, too. There are marbly surfaces. An open kitchen. All male staff, cooks and waiters. Big TVs on every wall, mostly with football playing. My friend Paul who has subcontintental history and knows about these things tells me it's just like the real Lahore, a little bit of Pakistani life in east London.
The social mix is a delight, too, particularly on Friday nights. City dealers, getting drunk on byo booze. Essex families (Gavin & Stacey alikes) driving up against the rush hour flow. Mix and match Asian/English families where one woman will be in an A4 skirt, with her breasts hanging out and another will be wrapped in black. Strict Muslim families where — I've seen this with my own eyes — the beard of a pater familias shouts at the waiters to take the cutlery away before they will sit down.
Or maybe I'd go for a falafel at Marco Polo, a Lebanese cafe on Marylebone High St - my regular breakfast after early morning visits to the dental hygienist. (You don't want to turn up with bits of toast in your interstitials, now, do you.)
Till tomorrow . . .