Tuesday, 20 May 2008

More reasons to eat at Morrisons

The last time I was working in the same building as my friend Betty, she took me to the fashionable Engineer pub in Primrose Hill for lunch. This time, as if to keep my feet on the ground, she took me to Morrisons' coffee shop.

It is quite a heady contrast. You don't see many celebrity wife-swappers in there. You don't even see
Jade Goody. What you see are several white-haired old men quite alone, gazing down at their cooked lunch, cup and saucer of tea and slice of cheesecake. There's something about that combination of solitary elderly gentleman and coffee shop that forms a big black cloud over my head. In all likelihood, each one is probably just enjoying some quality Me Time before picking up his wife (who he's loved a little more with every one of their 50 years together) from the hairdresser, and needs my pity like he needs a faulty hearing aid.

Still, despite this melancholy spectacle, I am always cheered by a visit to somewhere that is by and large untouched by progress. The Morrisons cafeteria speaks of a time before soya lattes and health and safety. There is no barista to steam your milky drinks. Instead you are let loose in front of the hot beverage machine to create your own deranged cocktail of tea, coffee and hot chocolate, and self-harm at will with scalding water.

The menu features nothing to jar the senses. All the meals have been carefully chosen from a soothing colour palette of yellow, orange and brown – jacket potato with baked beans; jacket potato with tuna; omelette and chips; egg and chips; sausage and chips. Make up your own, if you like.

As I was paying the princely sum of £1.51 for a coffee and a teacake as big as my head (I am strangely in love with a teacake lately), I heard one of the orderlies shouting to a colleague: 'The customers are asking for forks again.' As though this was an outlandish demand equal to requesting a jacket potato garnished with the moon on a stick. 'They want what? We ate with our fingers in my day and it was good enough for us.'

To me, it is endlessly comforting to know that there is at least one corner of London where it is forever 1983 – the year of Thriller and All Night Long. And who on earth could not feel better for remembering this (which I'm also officially posting as a belated birthday dedication to Miss W)…


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Miss Jones, but under NO circumstances is Morrison's or its cafe acceptable, especially if they are not serving 'Morricinos'.
Lady Cx

Anonymous said...

You really need to visit the Morrisons in Bradford for the authentic Morrisons experience. Is is however the most depressing place in the whole of the UK; sandwiched between the job centre and the red light district it's patrons are truly special(needs). You really are taking your life in to your hands when you visit. I think I lasted ten minutes in there before I ran out screaming, convinced I had accidentally wondered in to an episode of League of Gentlemen.

Miss Jones said...

My mum made her first ever visit to a Morrisons recently. She retreated to Marks & Spencer very quickly. xxxx