A few years ago, I happened to become a passing acquaintance of a local celebrity. She was the newsreader for BBC Wales and she went to my circuit class. I lovely friendly girl, it was some weeks before I realised who she was (she had her hair down on the TV, when she let me know what was happening for 10 minutes every morning, and up in the gym, which had as much of an effect as batman putting on his mask. It took someone else pointing it out to me for me to get it.
We were talking about music (slagging off the choice of music we trained to) and I mentioned some of my favourite bands at the time, and she used the phrase “I was lucky enough to interview Daft Punk a while ago” by way of an interesting and relevant anecdote about interviewing a pair of French guys who spent the majority of their careers dressed as robots and never got out of character.
What she meant by this, was “because of my doing a job which means I get to do things that other people might be jealous of, and I recognise this and deliberately suggest it was good fortune that enabled this event to happen, even though it is for more about talent and pushing yourself than pure luck” or something like that, but I appreciated the effort she made to put me more at ease.
I was tempted to use the same phrase when talking about my visit to the Ivy the other day, but it’s not really in the same league.
Although my wife and I are doing ok, and can afford to do certain things with a fair degree of expense and luxury associated with them. I’ve told you about other visits to some of London’s top restaurants, gigs, theatres and it is great to have this lifestyle, but it is only because we’ve worked hard, and been careful about how much we do (it’s not like we do this sort of thing every week) but if there is something we want to do, and we can get tickets or a reservation, we’re “lucky enough” to be able to do it.
The phrase may well be more apt in my ability to get a reservation which wasn’t in the middle of the night – I was lucky enough to be back at work soon enough after Christmas to get onto the website just as the booking opened for when we wanted to go. The second the restaurant opened – we were in, and we had to be out again within a couple of hours.
For the not unreasonable sum of £102, including service and cover charges, we ate a massive three course meal, (I couldn’t even finish my main course) and drank a bottle of fine English wine, (the advantage of ordering the English wine was that it looked like we were ordering it because it was the English wine, but it was also one of the cheaper offerings on the list.) we were treated like the celebrities who may have been at the next table (the whole cast of Eastenders and the top 40 might have been there and I wouldn’t have recognised them) and everything was the perfect example of its genre – the best soup, the best curry, the best crème brulee, and the best doorman showing us the way to the theatre as we left, while also opening doors on the chauffer driven Bentley for some proper VIPs.
I can’t see the Ivy getting a Michelin star any time soon – too varied a menu, and not the sort of elegant meals you might expect (thing good size but exceptional quality pub food) but they certainly deserve their special mention in the guide, although from our experience, the reference to its appearance in Ricky Gervais’ “Extras” is unnecessary.
Then we went to see The Misanthrope – Keira Knightly’s new play. But that’s another story.