Alone. You know that feeling? When it’s just you in a vacuum that engulfs space and time? Ok, maybe just space, the clock is still illuminated on the bottom right hand corner of my screen, staring at me (didn’t these things used to blink?) for what seems like definitely longer than a minute, and then it ticks over, so we know time is still there. Wait, so there’s a screen. Ok so it’s just me and my laptop, alone.
The laptop sporadically hums, I’d like to think that it’s thinking, but I don’t know for sure, cos I haven’t asked it to do anything, I’m just looking at it, deep in my own writer’s block. But at least the hum tells me I’m not alone, and comforts me in the knowledge that out here, in my office in Central London, if something should happen, at least someone thing will hear me scream squeal profanities.
All right, all right, so I exaggerate a little. The office is actually bustling with people, but I do feel alone. I work in a virtual team, which really means I don’t have a team at all because remember the last time someone offered you a virtual hug (or perhaps a virtual smack in the face)? Did you receive a hug? No? I didn’t think so. So my team is like that. A virtual one.
I sit on my own, staring out the window at the living, breathing people on the street. So close, but so far away. I rarely eat lunch out solo (not that I am opposed to dining alone) but I prefer to order takeout and come back to my desk where I hang with my pals in twitterverse, feeling just a little bit less lonely.
I AM A SAD EXCUSE FOR A PERSON.
So when someone, anyone, invites me out to lunch, I propel myself so fiercely at the opportunity that I’m pretty sure I alter the space and time continuum. Much like today, when a friend asked me for lunch. Did you feel time skip a beat? Ya-huh that was me.
Like some shady back-alley covert operation, we met down the very shady alley that is Bridge Court (seriously, unless you actually stumble upon this “street” by accident, you would never know it existed) and appeased our noodle (my craving was of the laksa variety) craving at Chi Noodle & Wine Bar.
So here’s the thing: even if you knew where Bridge Court was, and you knew that down this little lane there’s a Chinese noodle joint, there is a good chance you’d walk right past Chi Noodle & Wine Bar. Why? Because (a) it doesn’t really smell like a Chinese noodle bar (and y’all know what smell I’m talking about), (b) there’s no Chinese person loitering outside distributing cheap soy-sauce splattered takeaway menus, and most of all, in fact the only real reason, (c) it looks like a pub. Weird.
Sharp as a chisel (OMG as I wrote that I actually wondered if chisels were sharp, and I Google imaged them. And they’re not really very sharp at all), we deduced that Chi Noodle & Wine Bar used to be a pub. Clever, we are.
Anyway, we entered the restaurant/cafe/bar/whatever, its dimly lit room feeling almost trendy, but more faux-trendy than bona fide trendy, and ordered the chicken satay for starters, followed by laksa and spicy yasai udon. The verdict? The chicken satay was delectable (note that I normally avoid chicken breast like the plague but this was surprisingly moist) but the laksa and yasai udon left much to be desired. I mean, it wasn’t bad bad, but it wasn’t fantabulous. It’s just… who puts BBQ pork in laksa?
I think for laksa in this area, I’d stick to Apium Noodle Bar down on Long Lane (their website seems to have kicked the bucket but don’t worry, I called – they haven’t bitten the recession dust and are still well and truly in business. Just pay your effin internet bill, people!) but considering my lack of living breathing lunch buddies, I’ll take what I can get. Even McDonalds.
This post has been featured on Tastespotting.
Chi Noodle & Wine Bar
5 New Bridge Street
London EC4V 6AB
0207 353 2409