Café Rive Gauche, Fitzrovia
20 Warren Street
020 7387 8232
by Blake Pudding
I am beginning to suspect that people don’t like me. Some people sail through life on a cushion of benevolence, whilst I seem to be forever caught on the rocks of misunderstandings and imagined slights.
Take café Rive Gauche, where I met Eleni Fostiropoulos to celebrate her birthday. We both ordered Eggs Parisienne, which turned out to be a poached egg with ham and toast. It was lovely and cheap but there wasn’t enough of it so we ordered a plain croissant to share (Eleni and I are both people of large appetites). This is when things started to go wrong.
The waitress brought me an unaccompanied croissant so I asked for some butter and jam. She looked at me incredulously and said “you want butter and jam?”. I replied that this was a correct assumption seeing as that was just what I had asked for. She brought it over and then said angrily “but you asked for a plain croissant”. I replied that plain in this circumstance means ordinary as opposed to chocolate or almond. She disagreed. A charming person here would have pretended that they were at fault, smiled and smoothed things over and everything would have been fine. Instead I said, “so the customer is always wrong?” Not a very witty response. She stomped off angrily and Eleni looked at me with one of those only-you-could-have-escalated-a-mere-muddle-into-a-full-blown-argument-
The croissant was buttery and the jam sweet with the ripest strawberries but I could detect a lingering bitterness long after breakfast.