Up until yesterday, I had no idea what a mammoth task it is to find a venue that served dinner on Christmas eve. I mean, that doesn’t sound hard, right? But wow, it appears the entire population of London hunkers down and shuts all semblance of trading after lunch on the 24th and hibernates (perhaps in preparation for the feasting planned for the 25th), re-opening again for a gargantuan Christmas lunch.
And all I want to do is have dinner out on Christmas eve.
I think it’s my punishment really, for not believing in Santa. And before I go on, if you do believe in Santa, please change the channel now because don’t say I didn’t warn you, coming up is the hugest spoiler alert in the history of big fat men.
I think my parents brought me up splendidly because I seem to have always known of Santa’s existence, but also always knew that he wasn’t real. I don’t know how they instilled this level of wisdom within me, but there was never any drama, no distraught little catty when they had to eventually tell me that Santa, he doesn’t live in the North Pole, he doesn’t spend all year making presents and he sure as heck doesn’t have a fleet of little elves working through the night for him because wow imagine the child labour law suits on that one.
Oh wait, elves aren’t children? Really? Ok.
Anyway in light of the fact that we’ve never had a chimney, I’ve never sat on any big fat red lap, never tugged on any beard and don’t remember ever receiving anything on my Christmas wish list (until I started earning some mulah and started buying presents for myself, which is going to be a Canon s90 this year *iamsoexcited*), I don’t think I owe Santa any dues, especially when it comes to “believing in him”.
There’s no love lost though, we exist in a quiet harmony. He ignores me and I, well, I acknowledge him because secretly, I have a crush on his brother, Beard Papa.
Beard Papa is a jovial chubbery of a man, who I think sits in the back of his Oxford Street store, smoking his pipe and stroking his beard while churning out the most divine cream puffs for one and all. He doesn’t live in the North Pole, he doesn’t work all year (ok, so I don’t know this for a fact) and he definitely doesn’t hire elves. Much more realistic, no?
The cream puffs are enormous, like seriously larger than the size of my fist and Beard Papa, his math ain’t the shiniest because the cream-to-puff ratio is totally whack and there is always way too much vanilla custard, but really, there’s no such thing as way too much vanilla custard so we forgive the old chap.
And dare I say, in the short time I’ve known Beard Papa, he’s brought me far more joy than that other fat guy… I can’t walk past his store without going in and buying one or two or twelve cream puffs, eagerly hurrying home so I can lift one delicately out of its paper case, and ever so gently break it in half to release the oozing vanilla custard.
Then I sit in sugar-fingered contentment and slowly enjoy the other eleven.
ps: by the way, you know what’s really real? Oompa loompas. They are definitely real.
pps: dinner on Christmas eve is now all sorted, we’ll be dining at Oscar, at the Charlotte St Hotel.
143 Oxford St,
London, W1D 2JB
0207 494 9020