So why do I think my local loves me? Well first let me define what I mean by ‘my local’, it’s not my local pub or even my local area, of which there are at least 5 (good pubs). It is rather the fact that I have discovered places where they know me, and I know them. I grew up in a mid-sized village in Scotland where everyone said good morning and asked how you were, and (get this) really cared. So, this sense of belonging has always been important to me, and it’s been missing for the last year. It’s amazing how that sense of dislocation makes the difference between feeling lost and being really happy.
So, let me know tell you what else is great beyond this service to me and my ego. There are a number of good eateries, bars and restaurants around here, so good in fact that they have been featured in our version of ‘The Metro’ newspaper, Conde Nast and Grazia - yup Frank’s Cafe. The eateries range from the ubiquitous chicken chains, donar kebab establishments to the 3 that I particularly want to mention. The first is The Flying Fish - truly excellent fish in batter that remains crispy even when cold and chips that are never too soft but have the right crunch, and you can bring your own bottle.
Then there is what I call The Greek but actually has a proper name The Vineyard. ‘The Man’ and I have our own table that we always sit in - our backs to the wall, our favourite wine (try the greek wine), while we people watch. The food is tasty and plentiful, the service quick, the atmosphere relaxed, and most importantly very good value.
My last, and favourite, is Maloko (I’ve been told that it means the journey in Cameroon). I’m not sure why I love this place more than others, but I’ve just spent the last couple of hours in there reading my book after tucking into a galette stuffed full of ingredients that are good for you (sitting here feeling smug after eating quinoa), followed off with beetroot, carrot and apple juice. If you know me you’ll know that I’m not a fan of beetroot so it’s got to be fairly spectacular to tempt me to not one but two glasses. You can also bring your own bottle (for those of you thinking this why I like these places, it’s not after all I’ve just spent the afternoon drinking juice).
I think that it’s the simplicity of these places that attracts me, there is no pretension, no queues (though you’ll have to queue on sunny days for Frank’s cafe) or judgement. Obviously there are other places that I visit but I can’t and won’t mention them all here, as I’d be here all night and you’d switch off. Suffice to say that the combination of them all has provided me with a true sense of community which I believe we all need regardless of who we are.
I’m always intrigued by what makes people hang out in an area so I’m now wondering what your locals are that you love.