Contentment kills curiosity that kills creativity. I was trying to draw parallels with the Indian school syllabus… but my friend Sam was talking about my writing. It’s not that I didn’t get what he was saying – of course I did. But I did not like the implications of the argument : I would either be happy, or be inspired to write. That day I was happy.
But I travel around life in circles and it wasn’t too long before scenes of London replaced the lover’s photo on my desktop and sad songs from Grease ruled my iPod. And my diary is full of scribbles like: So much of Me is locked into You & I still love you unconditionally, but why is it that I cannot love myself?
And so on and so forth.
It’s like I had a nasty gremlin on my shoulder who would not shut up. I tried crying, meditating, chick flicks and reality TV, cooking, then running… When nothing worked I knew what I had to do.
An easy 35 minute walk from my flat is a gastro pub that someone mentioned a few weeks ago. As I stepped into The Newman Street Tavern I felt its plush yellow curtains brush my gremlin away. I immediately loved the dark wood floors and banquette seating (my Achilles’ heel).
The wait staff is beautifully pleasant but not much help with the wine selection. The Mâcon-Loché, Domaine Clos des Rocs (a Burgundy white at £6.50 a glass) that I guessed at was thankfully perfect.
I also imagine that the two looking after me that day had not served too many single diners. They fumbled between too much attention and ages without anyone coming near me. But that day, I didn’t mind. Depending on whom you want to be on the day, there is enough to distract and entertain you in The Newman Street Tavern. A wall of beautiful photographs that is an appetizer to what you will see on the menu. A gay couple talking love and Kenzo trousers (or was it a love for Kenzo trousers?). A small bar, well stocked. A gossipy family out to Sunday lunch. It’s cosy, approachable, old and new all in one breath.
Their Raw Bar menu looked fantastic: West Mersea oysters, mussels and clams by the pint, and Russian caviar. But I didn’t want to linger too long on my own today and so ordered a main immediately. Red mullet and shellfish bisque (£19) or Woodcock and fried bread (£24). I was hungry enough to eat both, but I didn’t want to linger. Sorry, did I already say that?
I ordered a jig caught squid with seafood broth (£18) and a side of carrot and fennel (£4). The squid arrived looking like a beautiful pearl from the ocean. It was so delicate… I think I mmmed out loud. The vegetables were butterly delicious and I wanted to lick my plate clean.
Newman Street Tavern may not be the most affordable pub in the neighbourhood, but it has magic powers against nasty gremlins. And their Blood Orange and Campari granita (£5) is especially perfect for a day when you let someone break your heart.