You know how in the UK you often walk past pubs that offer Sunday Lunch, “2 for £10”
Well last sunday we had sunday lunch, Richard and I, at Izzy’s on Vale do Garrao beach and very excellent it was too, VERY excellent.
But it wasn’t 2 for £10.
It wasn’t even 1 for £10
It was 2 for €110
And worth every penny, but just don’t tell the wife that I spent £50 of my own money on sunday lunch, just for me, and not me and nine other people too, ok ?
Hey she can’t complain, she got herself a new teapot, which incidentally, I still haven’t found, I’ve been in all the cupboards today, its nowhere, the binmen come tomorrow and I almost daren’t look in the wheelie bin…
We booked, you have to book for sunday lunch at Izzy’s, this is the land of the millionaire and as everyone knows, whats the point of being a millionaire if you can’t go out for your sunday lunch – so we booked on Thursday and they said we’d taken the last table, maybe they tell everyone that but in the event the restaurant was packed.
We took an outside table, a sea view, hot, hot, sun, so hot that it lays heavy on your shoulders, that sort of hot, but made all the cooler by a sturdy yet cooling breeze that scattered the table umbrellas at random intervals and clobbered the odd millionaire on the way, we chose not to have a table umbrella.
Clams again, for someone who doesn’t like shellfish I was eating an awful lot of clams on this short break, like clams with every meal, clam ice cream, that sort of thing, we started with clams in a garlic sauce and they were as good as before even better mopping up the sauce with husks of rough bread, clams eh, I’ve looked in Asda, they don’t sell clams.
A rare cooked peppered steak followed and I say without hesitation that it was one of the best steaks I’ve eaten, ever.
I was once told by a gay restaurant owner in Whitley Bay, yes I know its a huge leap from The Algarve to Whitley Bay but both places were places where I’ve tasted the best steak ever, but back in the late 1970s I frequented a small seafront restaurant called The Schooner, owned and operated by two blokes who, if they weren’t gay then I’m gay, and I’m not gay, they were gay in that sort of Elton John 1970s gay where everyone knows they were gay but no-one dare just come out and say it, including them, repressed times they were.
Anyway, quiet as their restaurant was I could always get a table and they served the most succulent steaks you have ever tasted, well ok, I know you never got the chance to taste them, I’m telling you 34 years too late, but if you had, then you’d agree with me, they knew their steaks and the first time I asked for steak and the shortest chubbiest of them, wo was also the campest, asked how I took my steak, “Rare” I replied, “Would sir like it blue” he asked and I paused for a while while I tried to interpret what he had just said, “Blue ?”
“Blue sir” he offered, “Its a bit rarer than rare”
“That sounds like how I like it then” I replied and he disappeared out the back to carve a rump off a still living beast, waft it near a flame and serve it almost completely uncooked.
“You made a good choice” he said as he delivered my plate to the table, and I swear that part of the steak still had a pulse, “you HAVE to use the most tender of steaks to serve them blue”
So there you have it, if you want the best, most tender cut, order it blue, or rare but if you want the crap thats only going to be used as shoe leather tomorrow when it finally goes off, then order your steak well done, for the crap cuts need baking for bloody ages to make them look like food rather than a Doc Marten sole.
So back to Izzy’s on The Algarve, a second bottle of beer was slipping down nicely and the steak was just to die for, well actually something had died for it, the cow, and we sat and talked of old times and a band turned up and set up their instruments, and the sun was shining, and the surf stretched for miles and miles, the sky was blue as blue could be and millionaires who hadn’t booked were being turned away at the gate because they might have lots of money but they are too dumb to book for Izzy’s on a sunday lunchtime, you may have money, but money doesn’t buy you sunday lunches like Izzy’s…
Well actually it does, shitloads of it, but it was still funny to see wealthy Tim-Nice-But-Dim sorts being turned away under protest that “We can afford it you know, we’re not poor”.
Two hours it took for the band to set up, if I said that sunday lunch at Izzy’s tends to be a laid back affair then you may be getting the picture and when eventually the steak was gone we sat back for another long, slow, cold beer – and then apple crumble and ice cream.
Nectar, clams, steak, apple crumble, beer, there really is a heaven.
The wife ?
She doesn’t have sunday lunch, she has to work every sunday, so thats what she was doing, working in a hotel in England with it pissing down outside while I sat on the beach at Izzy’s and toasted gently in the sun for a four hour lunch and I spent all of her wages for that shift on one meal.
So be it.
I’m worth it me.
And she got a teapot, don’t forget the teapot.
PS – the next day we were on our way home and at Faro airport, in what used to be the duty free shops but are now just expensive shops, I texted my youngest daughter to ask what sort of perfume her mother would like, “Giorgio” she replied, “in the yellow and white box” so I went and looked and when I couldn’t find any I asked the assistant, “We don’t stock it any more” she said, so I texted the youngest again with “What else does she like” to which she replied “Dior Addict”, so back to the shop I went and found it, “You must be f’kin joking” I texted the daughter, her reply was “Haha, its the only one she likes” – she had to make do with the teapot, €96 for perfume, why I could have bought another meal for that.