Food - The Needlemakers Café
I’m absolutely starving when I walk into the crowded Needlemakers Café at quarter to two on the first Wednesday lunchtime of 2007. I’ve eaten there once before, about six months ago, and I still remember the taste of the Portobello mushroom and Serrano ham on a slab of country bread covered in melted cheese I had. You know when you get it in your head that you want to eat something in particular and nothing else will do? Well I’ve got a portion of Portobello mushroom and Serrano ham on a slab of country bread covered in melted cheese in my head: I want it in my mouth, and there’s nowhere to sit down. Then I see an empty table at the back and I quickly vulture in before anyone else can claim it. My order is taken by Sara Grisewood, the artist.
There’s French music playing. The walls are whitewashed; twigs sprout tree-like from a vase on the glass counter. It is a far cry from the old granny soup kitchen it was until a year ago, when it was set up by Roman Grill, its Austrian proprietor. When my food comes I try to eat it like a sandwich. Mushrooms keep falling out, but I don’t care. The taste is as good as I remember it. Considering the intensity of my anticipation, I’m well pleased. It’s a great combination. I wash it down with a glass of Italian red, and a cup of Illy coffee, reading the Independent cover to cover, and pondering why Roman Grill didn’t call his Mediterranean bistro ‘Roman Grill’. AL