Thursday, March 15, 2007

Electric jolts


The last 18 months have taught me that your life can change in a moment. One Friday, you can be called up to your manager’s office for a lunchtime meeting to find yourself out on the pavement five minutes later, sans keys, credit card and job. You can then spend the next few weeks becoming an expert in employment law, briefing the best employment lawyer you can find, and generally fighting tooth-and-nail for a decent settlement. In the middle of all this, your father may suffer a stroke, fall and break his neck, and spend the next 3 months in hospital on the other side of the world in critical care with a variety of hospital superbugs.

Distracted, worried and depressed, it may take a while to find a new job. The mortgage is ticking away, taking with it your life savings. Options appear to be closing down. But one day, you get a call; an invitation to lunch.

Because no matter how bad or how good your day is, and in whichever sudden new direction the wheel of fortune has decided to throw you, there will always be food.

I can’t remember what I ate the evening I was fired. But my upswing started with lunch at the Electric Brasserie in Notting Hill. Time Out suggests one be persistent, and one “will eventually secure a booking at what is one of the most fashionable restaurants in Notting Hill” – sort of like my career path, really.

We industry gossiped and discussed job specs over a delicious salad of avocado, broad beans, radish, frisee and delicate slivers of Italian cheese – tossed in a fresh light dressing which did not overpower the tender vegetables. For my main I had a spinach and gorgonzola tart – the intensely flavoured cheese melted over wilted spinach in a super light pastry case, all working together coherently as a team. I was pretty much over the moon with this choice, as I had my doubts when ordering – so much could have gone wrong.

The dining room is loud (acoustics are of the echo-ey kind – a dropped glass sounded like a bomb going off), and we were seated next to a tableful of Notting Hillbillies, who brayed full bore while chasing lettuce around their plates with forks. So be prepared to shout.

Service was attentive, discreet and friendly, and the cappuchinos just so. My one quibble apart from the noise was the bread offering – the slices were open textured but drying out, and the butter provided was rock-hard. Apart from that, the kitchen really had it together. I would happily go back, anyway. Especially if life takes another upturn!

Electric Brasserie
191 Portobello Road
W11 2ED
020 7908 9696
www.the-electric.co.uk

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