a preamble: kindly friends have been inundating me with all manner of london guides. of course, i've done what any reasonable man would do: completely ignored them. they've been sitting in their corner glaring balefully at me whenever i've caught sight of them, so feeling guilty i took a few to accompany a long bath. there i was, relaxed in the tub with a towel under my head, as ready as i'll ever be for a run down of the charms of this city in a nation of shopkeepers. but i needn't have been so fashionably cynical, for in that stack was 'london', a book written by andrew gumbel.
it is very readable, this book. and best of all, there is a chapter on food in which gumbel takes a shot at proving simon's plaintive mantra that london is one of the great gastronomic centers around today ;) to this end, theres a list describing a few restaurants in each neighborhood - the aim is to show the diversity. and under the listings for kensington is the "polish airforce association club and restuarant". gumbel describes it as a basement filled with flying memorabilia, serving local poles pierogis, pigs knuckle, meatballs, wow .... in the spirit of archimedes leaving his bath i ran to the phone to call the number given and of course got some couple who had no idea what i was babbling about.
192 gave me a hammersmith number for the polish airforce association who in turn directed me to a restaurant called spitfire in hammersmith. ok, so i call spitfire, and of course they serve peirogis, meatballs, pig knuckle. the cool polish accent on the other end of the line is getting a little bewildered by my questions - i'm trying to figure out if the original association in collingham gardens (in kensington, simon, not some dive in the east end) has morphed itself into spitfire, but i'm obviously not succeeding in making myself understood.
of course, i'll be checking out spitfire soon. but has anyone ever been to the original associations club? every instinct i have tells me i've stumbled onto the polish version of india club, which, if i'm right, would be quite something.