This is it. Not in the Michael Jackson sense. But our farewell to London. Three years, eleven months and eight days after arriving in the Big Smoke, we find ourselves once again, passport in hand at the Eurostar terminal. In the intervening years, the terminal has of course moved from Waterloo to St Pancras. Other changes have taken place too. Most recently, the Boris take on the Paris Velib has been introduced to the streets of London. The Circle line still doesn’t work though.
So, how to mark an end to our wonderful time in this fair city? We could think of no better way than an intimate dinner with BFF at our favourite cocktail/Asian venue: Zuma in Knightsbridge. The topic of most of the evening’s conversation was our forthcoming new status as a Par-Don: a new breed of people splitting their lives between London and Paris. Terrible name, but a concept we like lots.
The table was booked for 8pm on a Wednesday night but we met up at 7.30 to make the most of our quality time. We foolishly thought it being August the bar area might be quiet and we’d be able to sit there with our cocktails for half an hour. But no, Paris this ain’t and we walked in to find a heaving bar that was brimming with tangoed footballer types and Russian older ladies in short skirts. Not quite the elegant venue we remembered. But BFF certainly was her usual elegant self. She’s the only person we know who can come straight from the office and look fresh as a daisy (and not ragged as we usually are after a sweaty cross-town journey from the back end of Canary Wharf). This evening she was wearing shiny Salvatore Ferragamo shoes and clutching a beautiful Louis Vuitton bag. La classe. She’ll fit right in in Paris!
We asked to go straight to our table and ordered some drinks: an Asian (gin, lime juice, elderflower and apple) for us, a traditional Cosmopolitan for BFF. We chose our favourite dishes: spicy fried squid, soft shell crab and an assortment of sashimi (salmon, tuna, yellow tail). On top of that, we opted for beef skewers and asparagus from the robata grill. To finish it off, we had prawn tempura and two more cocktails.
So, how was our last Zuma supper? Yummy, yummy, yummy! Especially the squid and crab. They were even better than we remembered. There’s something about eating an entire animal like that. With its slightly crispy shell and delicious tangy wasabi, it’s a fiesta for the senses. The squid was impeccable too. But perhaps a large portion when you’re just two people sharing.
We ordered another couple of cocktails and continued setting the world to rights: work, life, Paris, London, husbands, lovers, mothers, friends … we covered it all. And as the evening drew to a close, we popped outside for a spot of smirting – without the flirting…. or so we thought. As we were chatting, all of a sudden we overheard the tail end of a conversation behind us:
‘Elles sont trop vieilles’.
BFF’s eyes popped out of her head. ‘We’ve just been called ‘vieilles’!!’ Ever young at heart, we’d assumed the comment was directed at some other group. But BFF knew otherwise. There was a rather long and red-faced scuffle and a fair amount of whispering behind us before a pipsqueak popped up next to us:
BFF was having none of it. Neither were pipsqueak’s friends who were rolling around on the pavement laughing.
‘Allez, un bisou, vous etes vraiment tres jolie’, BFF found herself reluctantly being kissed on the cheek by this slimy fool.
All of a sudden, an awful reality hit us and the smile was wiped from our face……. was this horrible little man a……… Parisian?
A Zuma-tastic farewell to London
This is it. Not in the Michael Jackson sense. But our farewell to London. Three years, eleven months and eight days after arriving in the Big Smoke, we find ourselves once again, passport in hand at the Eurostar terminal. In the intervening years, the terminal has of course moved from Waterloo to St Pancras. Other [...]
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The Guide's Paris correspondent is a lobbyist by day and a world-class, champion cocktail drinker by night. Having devoured almost every Martini in London, like a swarm of alcoholic locusts, she had no choice but to migrate to pastures new. In the summer of 2010 she moved to Paris from where she continues to report on the very best restaurants, bars and nightlife that her adopted city has to offer. Watch out Milan; it’s only a matter of time…
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