The website of David F Porteous
I’ve rushed from the other side of town; still I’m the first one there in the red-walled restaurant on the Royal Mile. I’ve never been to Wedgewood’s before, but it was my choice for lunch. I settle into the corner seat at our table and experience the moment of anxiety, wondering if I’m the only one who’ll show.
The hostess gives me the lunch menu. It’s a set price of £10 for two courses, £14 for three and three choices for each course. I haven’t had time to read it before my companions arrive.
L moves to my right and declares her intention to sit next to me. She’s worn the low cut summer dress she just found on eBay and mentioned yesterday. But she’s put a t-shirt on underneath and I can’t help but feel cheated.
M sits opposite and seizes the menu.
“I’m so hungry,” L says and relates details of blood sugar and youthful fainting. She’s one of these people who drink the recommended amount of water every day and run without being late; without a pursuing pack of wolves. I already suspect her hunger will translate into only two courses of nouvelle-cuisine-sized portions.
By the time our starters arrive, the conversation has moved to paedophilia. (Nobody is recommending it).
A Channel 4 documentary the previous evening entitled ‘Breaking of a Female Paedophile Ring’ prompts L to ask the question, “How do rings form? How do these people make contact with each other?”
“Conversations about their own child abuse,” M surmises. “I think
that’s how it starts”.
She may be right. Though I imagine that it’s more of an auction, where men express mutual sexual attraction to younger women and gradually increase the age difference to include teenagers – and so on. I don’t share my thought because it seems too much like a Bangkok backstreet version of The Price Is Right.
Everyone has the black pudding. It’s delicious.
There’s a window into the galley kitchen and we watch the sensuous display of hands composing the food on plates. L points out the lobster – which it turns out is not for me.
“It looks like a taco,” I observe. The hollowed-out head of the lobster is being used to store salad. I think it’s very a neat display piece, but we wait some time before my lobster and the other mains arrive. At one point the waitress asks if we’re done with our bread; I suggest we trade her the bread for our main courses.
“Lobster is high in cholesterol,” L says as the first piece reaches my mouth. What with this and the t-shirt, it’s like she’s out to ruin my whole lunch.
M makes the mistake of asking what cholesterol actually is and I take my chance to use words I learned only a few weeks before: Low-Density Lipoprotein and High-Density Lipoprotein. I explain the difference. She conceals how impressed she is with my cleverness by changing the subject.
Despite the lipoproteins my lobster is so succulent I wish I’d ordered two and its tempting me to buy one of those frozen supermarket lobsters they have now. I’m resisting, because I need more cholesterol like I need several vertebrae removed.
M looks at me with arched eyebrows and declares her intention to have desert. It is a triumphant thing, desert – like the ambrosia of Olympus, or toast made from a loaf of Hovis that a Yorkshire boy has carried up a steep hill.
L declines, citing palpitations from having eaten so much already. M and I have the sticky toffee pudding, after a circuitous debate about cold fruit soup, but discover that the toffee sauce is a little overdone – matching M’s previous visit here.
I’d go back, though. My arteries can take it.
You can read about L's account of the lunch on her blog.