The case of the missing trains

Suki Orange, Wansteadium’s food blogger, writes:

sukibigToday’s Observer has a story about the increasing trend for West End restaurants refusing to take bookings and expecting their diners to queue up outside for a table, Wonk Kei-style. Mr Orange and I could have done with a bit of that ourselves this weekend.

We were taking the rare opportunity of someone babysitting the satsumas to have a night out. But because of the Central Line weekend closure (which seems to create a weekend-long mood of splendid isolation which Agatha Christie or Stephen King would use as the backdrop for some heinous criminality in otherwise civilised company… Anya Lipska, are you reading???) we, like everyone else, had the choice of George Lane or Wanstead High Street.

Reader, we chose Wanstead. I know my review of SumoFresh is massively overdue, but I have been minded to let things settle. While the overwhelming response of readers of Wanstead Talk is positive, and my own experience there has been joyful, I wanted to give a really rounded verdict. So we confidently walked up, knowing that – as is apparently so now – they don’t take reservations. We knew we would dine.

Except that they have just started taking bookings. And were fully booked, of course.

So it was an unplanned return to Provender, where we were welcomed as locals, and promised a spot within 45 minutes, which allowed a short visit to the Cuckfield (where a small glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a pint of Sierra Nevada cost just shy of a tenner). Provender, as ever, was a delight. Central London prices, yes, but Central London food too. Duck for me (who you might call L’Orange) and a meaty steak of brill for Monsieur with luxurious creamed spinach. No starters, no pudding, one bottle of wine and a couple of drinks, and a £90 bill. Phewee. At least we could walk home.

Central Line? We could live without you. (Though please please be working again by Monday morning.)

5 thoughts on “The case of the missing trains”

  1. I had the worst meal of my life in Provender. Honestly can’t understand why others love it so much. Terrible service and dire food. Thank goodness for The Cuckfield, The Bungalow and Sumo Fresh.

  2. Eaten plenty of times at Provender, and with the exception of a couple of things, it has been great every time. Certainly London quality.

    Sumo? First meal was excellent but the second was not outstanding, as my noodles were a bit ‘ready meal.’ Sushi has been consistory good though.

    As for queuing for a table; that is definitely a young persons game.

  3. We’ve used the no-Central-line-today occasions recently as an excuse to stretch our legs and walk over to Walthamstow for a somewhat ‘grittier’ day/night out. The market’s always worth seeing, and there are plenty of eating and drinking opportunities around. For example, interesting ales at the Antic-converted (but no longer Antic-owned) Chequers pub on the high street. And cheap and tasty tagines at Le Delice on Hoe Street. And then, of course, there’s (well, was) the ‘free’ bus home.

  4. Ha, just spotted your tip for a crime plot, Suki! I am not entirely sure it would pan out… “They stared at the tube notice board, taking in its bleak message. Central Line Closed. ‘You know what this means?’ he said. ‘We’re stranded in E11. And Giobertis hasn’t reopened under new ownership yet…’

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