Magazine article The Spectator

Food the Day of the Pig

Magazine article The Spectator

Food the Day of the Pig

Article excerpt

I write this column at the point of a pitchfork. A, normally so placid - 'He's so placid!' people like to say as he wanders around placidly - has cracked. He is standing over me with what I can only describe as violent placidity, gesticulating at an email from Le Cafe Anglais, a very smart restaurant in Whiteleys, Bayswater, established in 2007; it is run by Rowley Leigh, who A says writes very witty recipes. 'Suckling pig, ' it says, 'Suckling pig. Suckling pig. Suckling pig. Suckling pig. Suckling pig.' Of course it doesn't actually say that; it is a notification that Le Cafe Anglais now does suckling pig every Tuesday.

But that is all he can see: suckling pig, suckling pig, suckling pig. At times like this, I wonder at the internal furniture of his brain. His ancestors are calling - it is like The Vikings, but sitting down in a bonfire of pigs.

So on Tuesday evening, we drive to Bayswater, which I can never visit without thinking of Kind Hearts and Coronets: ' I t was typical of Lionel that he should live on the wrong side of the park.' ( I am certain that Louis Mazzini read The Spectator. ) And here is Whiteleys, a dirty crown, preening over the dank streets of West Notting Hill, or North Kensington, or South Kensal Rise, or E ast Shepherd's Bush, or whatever lie they are calling it in these days of self-hating postcodes. ( I call it too near the Westway, the road of all despair. ) Whiteleys gleams with all the happy confidence of the shopping mall living in the right age; it does not know it is ugly or, if it does, it does not care.

Some would call it horrible, I suppose, with its lines of escalators like metal tongues, and its flooring bleached the colour of George Osborne's anxiety; but I like it.

I like it because it has a cinema with table service ('The Lounge') that has not yet closed down.

I like it because A likes it, because it has parking. …

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