When Kiliaen told me he was going to take me to brunch with his two recently married (and lovely, as it turns out) friends, I was expecting what any normal person would expect in the circumstances. Classic New York brunch – leather sofas, newspapers, eggs benedict, one or two cheeky bloody marys and back home in time to relax before the onslaught of another night out with Kiliaen – which, if you know him, is a thing to be taken lightly at your peril.
And so it was that the four of us arrive at Lavo at 2.30 in the afternoon, ready for a civilised, grown up and relaxed brunch. But rather than being greeted by a neatly pressed waiter in a white apron, Kiliaen is approached and hugged by two big guys who pull aside the purple velvet rope that’s holding back a line of about 45 twenty-somethings dressed not entirely differently to a group of girls out on the town in Blackpool on a Friday November evening (but being New Yorkers, they were of course beautiful, and not falling over and vomiting in the gutter).
And then we enter. It’s a restaurant. And if the lights were up, I suppose there’s a chance that people might have been sitting there quietly enjoying their coffees and the Wall Street Journal (sorry, still have my allegiances). But the lights aren’t up. There are no papers. There is no coffee. It’s basically a club. With food. Tables. Music. Lights. Whistles. People dancing on tables. Champagne buckets being flung around with dry ice billowing down onto the the beautifully manicured hands of the frighteningly pretty waitresses.
So we go to our table, drink too many bloody marys, eat too many oysters, just about manage to chat to each other, eat more fantastic food, narrowly avoid dancing on the tables, ammo fails to avoid having something rather sharp thrown at him from a distant table, Kiliaen gets the table thrown out and we have the best time I have had in far too long. It’s only after all this that we try to play tennis. Bad idea.
There are other things to say. But not here sadly. And thanks Kiliaen.
Not sure there’s a recipe in here, except to say that the next time you have oysters, make sure you have a bloody mary in your hand (and if at all possible, make sure you’re in Lavo while you’re eating and drinking them).