Friday, 14 September 2012


During my recent secondment to the paralympics I was put up at student digs in the Mile End road between Whitechapel and Stepney Green. This being my first time in the 'big smoke' as my dad calls it, gave me an insight to the east end. Coupled with a need to feed, I wandered  around looking for a place for an meal most evenings and explored with and without a few mates on occasion.
 The majority of meals were taken at the Half Moon close to Stepney Green our nearest Wetherspoons catering for the majority of our needs. But once or twice the need for change tempted me to venture to other eateries.
The first thing I noticed is the amount of Fried Chicken outlets there are. I'm not kidding when I say out of a row of forty buildings at least fifteen would be selling fried poultry and the majority of these would be Halal to cater for the high population of our ethnic, supposedly minority groups.
One of the flame grill establishments advertised 'Cow Meat' on the window and was suitably steered clear of. Using the iphone to search for places to eat near us, unveiled the infamous 'Blind Beggar' at Whitechapel.
Of course I had heard of this pub and knew of the Kray twins macabre history surrounding it and thought it would be good to sample one or two if only for my ego, to say that I've been in there.
I was never expecting to see Buster Merryfield tinkling on the ol' joanna whilst pearly kings and queens sang 'knees up mother brown. Nor was I expecting a hush to descend upon entry whilst 'shifty looking geezers' with a right 'moody face' looked us up and down in case we were 'the filth', or some large 'andy looking thug with fists like cooked hams offered to rearrange our faces with a few sovereign rings threaded onto his sausage fingers just for asking for a shandy. I was shocked by what I saw tho. Let's just say it was more Crayfish than Kray twins, more Public school than Public house! The Toffs had taken over with their sweaters draped over their shoulders and half a salad in their drinks. On inquiring about the possibility of food, we were told that 'we are rather busy'  but 'we are doing a special on a bottle of wine and a cheese board for £18' if you'd care for it? I think not me ol' china!
After a swift pint we 'had it away on our toes' to a ethnic looking curry house over the road for a blindin' ruby which advertised 'All you can eat buffet £8'. Much more befitting to a bunch of tight fisted oiks like us, so in we strolled. All the familiar looking suspects to eat plus a vast selection of authentic cuisine that, on the assumption that if you can't tell what it is leave alone, offered more than enough for 4 lads to eat their fill. The lads groaned about the restaurant not serving alcohol but we could find a rub-a dub after, no worries.
I quite liked the look of the Lamb Rogan Josh, as my weak constitution would not act kindly to anything too hot. Besides, I like to taste what I'm eating. Another mistake. It wasn't Lamb. It wasn't even mutton. I'm pretty sure it wasn't goat either having had that before. We'll leave it there I think, lest I start hurling again!
On the other occasion we ventured forth into the unknown, we frequented a chinese restaurant in Holborn. A short bus trip found a very respectable place just full of Chinese people. A good sign and we were not disappointed. They couldn't do enough for us. Blindin' bit o' grub. But most of the time we ended up in the 'spoons with the old familiar good old english tucker. It was better than the alternative of what only can be described as prison food on paper plates, served by Russians and Polish chaps in our very own canteen.
I once pointed to a tray of slop and  asked what it was, the guy actually said, I kid you not, "It is nice fresh Italian chilli-con-carne!".  Really? Italian? Erm,.. No thanks Vladimir.


  1. Well that's whetted my appetite .................. Not!

    But I am curious as to the meat in your curry, do you think it barked?

    1. Oh Dave. The odd bout of nausia I can handle but now I have guilt too! It was certainly 'Ruff'.