It was K’s last night with me before he moves to Brighton. After fiddling with toys in Hamleys, walking around the Regent Street Festival, wandering the too-posh area around Bond Street, commenting on outfits that cost as much as a deposit on a house and swirling our heads round to admire a white Bugatti Veyron convertible, we were hungry.
K called his Lebanese gynecologist friend for some advice and we found ourselves on the vibrant James Street. It has a square of restaurants and men playing music in the street. The night air was warm and windless. Though you really can’t see any stars in the middle of London, it was a stunning night.
At Massis, a little Lebanese restaurant next to a French creperie, we sat outside under a tree and an umbrella and filled our tummies with kellaj (char-grilled bread filled with halloumi cheese), mixed shawarma (tender slices of marinated chicken and roast lamb) and hot mint tea. We filled our minds with good conversation.
Next to us on both sides, people chattered away in Arabic, to each other and to the waiters. People were smoking shishas and when the street music moved along, exotic middle eastern music floated out of the restaurant door.
I love that London can transport you almost anywhere you would rather be. It’s not just London. It has little slices of the whole world swirling around in one massive, multicultural jumble. It’s a beautiful thing.
If I ever moved away from here than that is almost certainly what I would miss the most.