Just desserts

One Christmas time in the 80s, my Penny farthing and bicycle collector client and friend American Pryor Dodge came to stay at our Noting Hill residence in the parallel road to the Portobello Road market.

I had met Pryor in Paris when he had been living there in the early 80s before he moved back to his native New York. Later in 1982 I stayed with him in his Soho loft on Broom Street which housed his vast important collection.

We didn't see much of our guest Pryor as he was out every night dancing Tango on the London Tango circuit. Music and Tango were his other passions immersed in this cultural world since childhood as his father, Roger Pryor Dodge, had been a professional dancer and he had studied the flute. Pryor was also visiting bicycle collections and doing research for his book.

One evening Pryor invited Martin and I out for a 'Thank You' dinner. I chose a restaurant in Bayswater that specialised in old British recipes which was in walking distance on a cold winters evening. The owner catered to film companies during the day on their shoots but at night was the hostess but not with the mostess.

We ordered festive food but when it came to the desserts, Pryor could not decide from the choice of 5 especially the traditional Christmas pudding. Instead he suggested we share all 5 traditional fayre. The waiter was Brazilian and so I ordered all 5 of the desserts. I don't know which language school he had gone to or whether he was 'loco', but 5 waiters turned up with 5 dishes for each of us laid out up each arm, not on a tray! We howled with laughter until we were almost crying. Mr Brazil was not amused and nor was the owner who sided with the waiter and not her guests! How could any mortal consume 5 desserts? She must have been mad too!

No one said 'Good night' and 'Thank You' or showed us to the door saying a polite 'Merry Christmas.'

Never to return so we thought.

Sometime later Martin started to receive special promotional offers by post. Eventually these constant monthly promotions irritated him, as although the food was good, the attitude of the owner was zero. One day he decided to tell her what he really thought and so, in my presence, called her and told her to delete our address as we were never never coming back. He told her why in no uncertain terms. Horrified, she apologised profusely and offered us a complimentary dinner with wine to make up for her behaviour. We had to accept even though, frankly, we didn't really want to. 

What a difference in service and attitude that night as the red carpet had been laid down for us and all the staff in attendance smiling. I didn't see the Brazilian waiter that evening, perhaps he was at night school learning better English!

Written on the train from Brighton to London for 'The Colour Walk' at Spitalfields Market on 17.8.2017.


Google - Pryor Dodge - the bicycle 1979
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