13th April 2017
Now I’ve explored (from time to time) the self-loathing of the bottom of a bottle. But I’ve not often resorted to vodka to do so. (Beer and wine usually fill my particular void).
Our new Polish housemate took us for dinner at Mamúska in Elephant and Castle. Anyone who knows that area of London will know it isn’t the city’s most elegant district. The grey shopping centre/underground station (always a winning combo) dominates the four lanes of traffic that surround it.
Soon, however, Elephant and Castle may be the latest beneficiary (or victim) of gentrification. New, expensive blocks of flats are rising up all around. Mamúska has upgraded too. Moving from the concrete island to a bright, dining room across the street.
My amore and I recently moved from the north-west of London to the south-east; from a shared house of five to our own two-bedroom apartment. Which is great. But quiet. And we’re very social people. (Also, we can’t afford that kind of rent in London!). So we found our lovely housemate from Warsaw, through a friend from Turin, who had met in Fankfurt.
She’s newly returned to London and took us out with her friends to a Polish Easter dinner. Schedules obliged us to celebrate God’s sacrificial son on the Thursday. But our supper was heartier than bread and wine.
I started with pierogi: dumplings that were perhaps intoducd to Eastern Europe via Italy, brought back from China by Marco Polo. I’m a fiend for Schnitzel, so it was with a heavy heart that I passed on Poland’s interpretation (the schabowy) and instead tried the bigós. I was rewarded with a stew of fermented cabbage and a host of finely chopped meats (pork, beef, poultry, game: variety reigning true).
And all the while, we punished ourselves with rounds of different vodkas. When I protested, I was poured a sweet, fruit-flavoured one. I’ll admit, it went down easier than any other time I’ve drunk vodka neat. And I was at no risk of indigestion that night. But my head the next morning suggests I should stick to wine.