Poetry in Eating

So – yesterday I had to travel from one birthday celebration in Sussex, to another in Nottyham. I’d planned to travel via London, and allowed myself a long stopover to have a fulfilling brunch and take care of another couple of errands at the same time. I’ve commented before about the rubbishness of the food provision at St Pancras, so I headed straight for my proud new discovery, the Duke of York at Kings Cross.

“Hello, I’d like the Giant Bellybuster Brunch with extra cholesterol and a Diet Coke please”
“Sorry, the kitchen’s closed today”

My dudgeon was higher than Amy Winehouse on a world tour as I stomped back out of the station. I was in a bit of trouble now – I’d only had a bowl of jelly for breakfast and I knew we’d be snacking in the evening so I needed a stomach filler. As if by magic, I spotted a sign:

Now open: The Betjeman pub/restaurant at St Pancras station

‘Tis kismet, I thought, the gods of travel catering were leading me to a new experience. I wandered in, shuddered at the prices on the menu, and ordered the cheapest main course at the bar.
“If you’d like to take a seat sir, it’s table service”

I suppose I should’ve been warned when, in an empty pub, it took ten minutes for someone to come and take my order. Having ordered, I settled down to do some work on a couple of cache puzzles I’d brought with me.

Half an hour later, I’d packed away the puzzles – and my book – and was about to walk out and go to Burger King when a waitress appeared.
“I’m very sorry sir, there’s been a mix-up in the kitchen and your meal’s been delayed: it’ll be with you soon”.
Then a more senior waitress appeared.
“I’m really sorry about the delay sir. Can I get you a drink on the house?”
“Well, the black coffee I ordered half an hour ago would be nice”

Then the coffee arrived, eventually followed by the food which was nothing short of adequate. I ate up – rather hurriedly since my long stopover had now vanished, even without doing errands – and went to pay. I offered two squid less than full price, suggesting that that was fair under the circumstances, and the senior waitress lady agreed.

The Betjeman – remember that name. I certainly will. Next time the Duke of York’s closed, it’s Burger King for me.

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