When I was a little girl, my parents used to take my brother and me to Cambridge for a day out now and then. We always went to the Robert Sayle department store, now called John Lewis. I think it may still be my favourite shop of all time. I particularly like how all the staff are partners in the firm, but I digress. It was even more important to me, as a city, because it was here, 26 years ago, that we bought my wedding dress from Laura Ashley and my going away outfit. Here I go again, digressing… sorry.
Anyway, when I was little, I used to really look forward to our days in Cambridge, largely because afterwards we’d go to a restaurant and Patrick and I would order fish and chips and ice cream. I didn’t quite understand the concept of restaurants and so I called these meals out “dinner in a shop”. I am afraid to say that I still refer to eating out like this. Brits reading this will be clear that ‘dinner’ means the evening meal and ‘lunch’ is what you eat in the middle of the day, however in the north of England, many call ‘lunch’, ‘dinner’. I know, it’s confusing. For me, when ‘dinner in a shop’ is spoken it can mean anytime of day at all.
So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that here in the KLCC Suria Mall, which stays open incidentally til 10pm every night, I really could have dinner in a shop because Harrods has a cafe. It sounds a bit naff, doesn’t it? All Earl Grey tea and clotted cream scones and yes, you can have that, but they also serve things with mashed potato – like sausages – and serve Asian beer.
And so, I was determined to go and have my lunch or dinner in this particular shop and try it out. Today was the day, so I went, alone, for lunch. I sat outside at a round marble table and was served by a waitress who wore a navy and white striped apron and white boater, of course! I chose to drink some of Harrod’s own green tea with Earl Grey and a beef salad with a spicy papaya dressing.
Sitting outside, I was made very aware, not only of the heat (doh!) but the fact that it is impossible to feel sedate and that it is necessary to crook my little finger when there is construction noise going on all around. One of the weird sounds emanating from near the cranes sounded just like my mobile phone and I must have checked it every 30 seconds, just in case I was wrong. The whirring of some kind of drill or sander sounded like stock cars racing round a track and then, when a police siren went off, and a car horn I very nearly resolved to go inside to the relative quiet and air-conditioning. But no, I had a blog to write and needed to experience it all.
It was quite amusing really. Anyone out there who was obviously a tourist, was as cliched as me, and took a photo. Everyone who clearly wasn’t a tourist kept staring at me.
The tea was nice, not that I could taste the Earl Grey. The beef, which I think also goes in their salt beef ciabattas, was rather more American in flavour than British, but actually, I enjoyed my meal. After all, I only went there for the experience and so I could write about it.
Leaving Harrods I headed for a Japanese supermarket called Isetan to find local ingredients for supper. I’d had my fix of home and now it was time to move on.