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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2006-12-29 11:50
Subject: Quiet evening out
Security: Public
A fortnight ago, she and I went out for a meal to a restaurant where, for the first half of our meal, we were the only customers.

Last night, we went to a quieter restaurant. Yes, for the entire evening, we were the only diners.

The Cabinet at Reed is a nice place. The food is good, the atmosphere is really quite nice (allowing for a complete lack of anyone else apart from the staff), and best of all, it's much closer than the Tickell Arms, being less than three miles away, and thus within sane taxi distance.

The only problem is that the village of Reed is perpetually shrouded in fog. I could accept that a week or so ago, when I made my first explorations of the area. At that point, the entire country was fog bound. On the second trip, on Christmas Eve, it was still foggy. But I indulgently put that down to a rural tradition of being a little behind the times. But last night, the whole area was clear, until we entered the village, and fog started blowing around us.

Is this place twinned with Innsmouth? Is that why there is no calamari on the menu?
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User: knell
Date: 2006-12-29 12:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've always found being the only customer in a restaurant (or one of very few) a slightly disconcerting experience. It's just, well, far too quiet for me.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2006-12-29 13:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's a little odd - and liable to lead to one wondering whether there's something horribly wrong. However, in both cases, it was due to being at entirely the wrong time of week and year.

Actually, being at the only occupied table in a restaurant is something I got used to some twenty years back. I was involved in commissioning a Lead Smelter in Derbyshire. Just near Matlock Bath, as it happens. Which is a great summer tourist hot-spot, but is pretty well deserted in winter.

It so happens we were staying at a hotel in Matlock Bath on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening most weeks. It was a nice place (with some Victorian vandalism - Victoria wasn't quite as proper as she was later made out to be, and had actually scratched her name on one of the window panes!) and it had a restaurant. A nice restaurant. A very nice one.

These premises had only recently been taken over by an Austrian couple (they'd sold up their previous restaurant in Sussex to buy this hotel and restaurant in Derbyshire), and they'd not yet made their name. Also, custom was low in the winter, and with only a handful of guests, there were many evenings when my colleague and I were the only people in. Nigel and I ate our way through the entire menu. And then we went off-menu, and would have whatever Herr Siggi Essel felt like cooking. I learnt to like Moules Marinieres there. And he did a steak and kidney pudding to die for (we were on expenses - so long as the average meal cost was within limits, anything went. In this case, the cheap S&K pudding would balance some lobster. Or oysters Monaco. Or Troute En Papilotte.).

So, I associate an almost-empty restaurant with truly good food - an experience that was reinforced when we found the Sala Thai in east Berlin on a cold, grey Sunday evening. Contrariwise, I don't like a crowd, and I especially don't like the bad service which so often accompanies an over-crowded place.
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Plastic Bertrand Russell
User: burkesworks
Date: 2006-12-29 16:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Is this place twinned with Innsmouth?

Can't be. The fog, the declining port, the chemical miasma, the inbred population descended from the Pilgrim Fathers on one side and the Deep Ones on the other, the cold fact that it begins with the letter "I"; why, Lovecraft must have been thinking of Immingham at the time.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2006-12-29 17:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, good point.

The chemical miasma and declining port don't really apply, since there's no industry there, and it's 150 metres up in the Royston Mountains. (Though altitude shouldn't be a real impediment to an unearthly port, I suppose.)

Inbred population - hmmm. Difficult to know, all we saw were shapes in the fog, not daring to come into the light.
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Mary Kay
User: marykaykare
Date: 2006-12-29 22:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Having looked at the menu, I'll have the duck leg for starters, the banana tart tatin for afters, and, well, one each of the mains.

Damn that looks good.

MKK
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2006-12-29 23:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That menu wasn't on. But what we had was also very good. I think we'll be back. And if you're over here again, perhaps, just perhaps, we might take you along.
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