Monday, 14 March 2011

Fancy By Accident?

As a Fancy, others expect you to “be in the know” when choosing a restaurant for a Saturday night date with friends. Even when the friends are also Fancy, the task usually falls to us. I’m never sure why. Could it be the 250 cookbooks in our kitchen, our personal relationship with people in the industry or simply the size of H’s waist? However it happens, I don’t mind. I like control.

After a week of hounding H about where he’d like to go and getting a lot of static in response, I offered up a few cuisine options to our companions. “Lebanese” was the response. I was slightly disappointed; I’d suggested Yakitori in a show of support for our very wet and shaken neighbours to the east. But Lebanese it was. I hesitated to go all “Maroush” on these people. After all, anyone knows that Edgeware road is where you go for Middle Eastern. But I wanted to push the boundaries. As far as Paddington. I know. Living on the edge.

There is a restaurant called, “Massis,” over in the Sheldon Square business area just north of Paddingon Station. H and I had been once before and the food was fantastic. The problem was that the restaurant was empty. I mean empty. Like the entire kitchen had nothing to do but stare at us while we ate. That aside, best damm spicy hummous of my life and I was itching to give it another go.
I first mentioned it to H.

“Empty. We won’t look good,” was his response.

“But dear, it’s clearly a place that gets more weekday action than weekend and the time we visited London was actually completely snowed in and you could probably have gotten a table at Claridges that night with 5 minutes notice. Let’s try.”

So I called our friends and gave them the address. I added a little “full disclosure:”

“So hey, listen, we’ve been there and the food is fantastic. But the place was a little quiet. Excellent food, but I can’t promise you much of a scene. Just so you know.”

Gracious as they are (and thrilled to live only 5 minutes from the restaurant), they reassured me it was not a problem and we’d have a lovely, peaceful meal, just the four of us.

I should probably interject here. Did anyone else know that we’re celebrating the Middle Eastern New Year?

The food was, as promised, excellent. From spicy hummous, to grilled aubergine, to the little pickled turnips and hot peppers. I could even go so far as to say that my grilled prawns were some of the best I’ve had. Including ones I’ve cooked myself. Serious char-grilled flavor and perfectly cooked. Everyone was thrilled with the dishes.

As for the scene, well, what could beat a belly dancer getting her groove on in H’s face as he tried to sneak the last of the Kibbeh Kras? Or the parade of kohl-darkened eyes and slicked back guido hair passing our table? I politely declined an offer to join the masses on the dance floor.

I shouted over the din of Fairuz cover songs and snapping fingers.

“Hey, not bad, eh?”

And without even trying, The Fancies hit the biggest social event in London this weekend. I guess it’s my curse. But the restaurant would probably still be fabulous even on a regular day, like the Chinese New Year. Try it. 


  1. Hi, recently stumbled onto your blog. I used to be Fancy, just like you, and then in an unprecedented lapse of judgement had two kids and moved myself, the husband and the nanny to the country.
    So am thrilled to have found a place where I can vicariously get my Fancy on!

  2. thanks so much for your comment on my blog! :) your about me page is really making me laugh! because before i was guest posted on scarymommy, i freaked out and went all james bond, wanting to use a fake mom in case someone who knew the family i nannied for read it, since it is pretty big. anyway, you have a real reason to be mysterious :) this blog seems so interesting! :)

  3. *fake name, not fake mom lol

  4. My mother hates and empty resturant - says it has no 'atmosphere'
    The food sounds flippin lovely - well done for pushing the boundaries!

  5. If I was Fancy I would definitely go there. Seeing as I'm most definitely not, I suppose I will have to make do with reading your blog and having sausage, egg and chips for dinner. Oh well.

  6. sounds fab. I'll have to give it a go - after we save up for a month!!

  7. Hello Mrs F, thanks for leaving a comment at my (nowhere near as fancy) blog. I'm loving getting an insight into the life of a richasshole! I'd like to talk to you about something but can't find an email address, would you mind emailing me at: thanks!
    Pig x