Friday, 12 November 2010
191 Portobello Road, London £???
We decided upon lunch at the Electric on what was clearly the back-end of a very long and very successful run of excellent decision-making. But before eating it was obvious that we required a hat for the otherwise preposterously dressed CV - a man not entirely equipped to deal with the sartorial rigour demanded by West London. His hat's raisin of debt was not merely to complement my hat, but also to furnish him with an early Christmas present worthy of our longstanding friendship-cum-rivalry, and to secure his safe passage through the members-only doorway of the Electric.
Actually completing the purchase of a hat proved beyond our abilities at the time, although we did make it as far as having one gift-wrapped in All Saints (prior to beating the hastiest of retreats), and also incurred the wrath of a man whose top hats were revealed (by some pretty rigorous testing) to lack the structural integrity implied by their £40 price tag. The aforementioned merchant also accused CV of being drunk, or possibly of being a fully-fledged drunkard - clearly here was a man of great insight & integrity, and he was not to be trifled with.
But I digress, let me set the record straight about how we came to be in Electric House. The name that I used to secure access for CV & myself was not made up, as his insane ramblings below would suggest. The name we used was wilfully purloined, and - in the events that followed - probably also blackened.
Without the hat, gaining entry to Electric House was going require even more derring-do and subterfuge than we had accounted for. There was one brief moment at which the success of the entire venture hung in the balance: the otherwise charming young lady on the door felt compelled to remark upon the fact that I possess considerably shorter hair than the man whose photo popped up when I deployed my stolen name at the appropriate time.
A look of grave terror came over CV's face at the thought of what might become of two plucky adventurers caught in the act of deception, but luckily I was able to employ some quick thinking and skilfully deflected her subtle probing with an oblique reference to the excellence of my hat - we were on our way into the heart of the Forbidden Kingdom!
In reference to CV's review - I concur entirely on the food, and am even willing to defer to him on the wine in this case. I can shed no more light than my companion on the nature of the third dish, but I certainly enjoyed the chicken livers. Electric House, though, is one of those places that you do not really go to for the quality of the food. The atmosphere and the service are what bring in the crowds.
I don't think enough emphasis can be placed on the extent to which our waitress was both charming and long-suffering. Quite how long-suffering is a matter of debate, and one that can probably only be settled with recourse to close-circuit television, or possibly police reports. In any case, she was lovely, if not quite as disposed to furnish me with her number as I had hoped.
The Electric Brasserie downstairs offers more of the same, and more importantly has the advantage of being open to non-members. If you are not of a brazen disposition, and prefer your dining experiences to come sans outlandish acts of deception or forced entry, this may be the option for you.
The menu is near-identical to that in the club, the food every bit as consistent, and the service just as friendly. They are also blessed with the prettiest pair of hostesses that you are ever likely to come across. They certainly aren't knockout, Eastern-European-hooker beautiful like the hostesses at the superb Japanese restaurants that abound in Mayfair and Knightsbridge, but their general encouraging friendliness really does lift the mood in the inevitable 10 - 20 minute queue for a table.
All in all a successfully executed dining operation. The front of house staff may have gently prodded us in the direction of the door as a result of various aspects of my conduct, but they did so the most cordial manner possible, and I have no doubt we would be welcomed with open arms should we choose to venture there again.