We are going to Kammadhenu tonight (two proper restaurants in a row, things are looking up), and we are catching up with John and Pauline, who were last observed at Than Binh. A flurry of emails has led to an arrangement to meet John at the Marly, for a Dogblotter or two before the main event. There is a lot to talk about. John and I both went to Epping Boys High School in the dim dark past, although not in the same year, he is definitely older than me. The talk eventually turned to school japes, and I was recalling the time some wag had arranged for a truckload of soil to be delivered to the front lawn of a teacher who had displeased him in some manner. I thought that this had been done by someone in my year, to one of my teachers, but then I also thought that it may just have been a playground myth, trotted out by some boastful and spotty twerp each year. John went a bit quiet while I was describing these supposed events, taking a sudden and keen interest in his schooner of Dougbelter. As my story petered out, he looked up with that shy grin thing he does, and said, “It wasn’t topsoil, it was blue-metal gravel. That was me.” Strop and I nearly fell off our stools – we were in the presence of a legend – well a playground legend anyway. We’ve known John for forty odd years and this has never come up before. We were busily pumping him for all the details when Pauline and Kirsten arrived. We got as far as – it was the librarian’s front lawn – in reprisal for an unfair caning (aren’t they all) – and involved a girl with family connections to a gravel and sand business. A love interest too! I’m pretty sure there is movie deal in this.
With the party now at full strength we threw back the last of our Dogbaskets and decamped to the restaurant. Kirsten is a quest newbie (or is that noob these days? I will have to check with Keir and Tessa, my consultants for all things teenager). She is Pauline’s grand niece thrice removed or something. She is also a Kiwi but she can’t help that. John and Pauline inform us that they have been undertaking a quest of their own, and it is longer than King Street! They are doing the Coastal Walk from Barrenjoey to Kurnell in weekend installments, complete with appropriately timed whale glimpses and coffee-shop stops. I am immediately envious, as this sounds like far more fun than King Street. And it has actual wildlife, not just drunken revellers in animal themed onesies. Kirsten is joining them on the walk, bright and early the next morning to act as chaperone for all the oldies, which is why she is available to join us tonight.
Kammadhenu is basically a curry joint with dhosas on the side. Their newish looking menus proclaim this loudly in yellow and purple. 1300 CURRYS is the headline, so I imagine they do takeaways too. The menu colours match the colour of the walls and go surprisingly well with strip of GI-cordial-green LED lights running around the walls. The culinary roots of Kammadhenu are in India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, which presumably explains the colour scheme.
There is no wine list but there is a drinks fridge up the back, from which we are invited to help ourselves. There are quite a few beers on offer, but not many wines so I quickly dispatch myself back up the road to fetch a Pinot Grigio/Gris. “Get the one Rebecca bought at New Taste,” says Strop. Umm ok. “Any idea what it was called?” My question is met with her dont-be-stupid look, so I go freelance and come back with a NZ wine that elicits a lot of comments along the lines of, “My…, that’s fruity isn’t it… and quite sweet.”
Having contributed on the wine-infliction front I leave the food selection to the others. We go for a range of dhosas, some curries and some snow peas. I wasn’t paying very close attention to the details of the order as I was intrigued that the waiter was entering our choices onto an iPad. How very C21.
The food does not really distract from the conversation. It is all very edible but none of it is particularly memorable. Not by me anyway. Dhosas are always fun but the size of the plates proves a bit of a challenge to the whole food sharing ethic. Still there wasn’t any left over by the time we spilled out of the restaurant, and started shuffling along King Street in search of a gelato for dessert.
On the way we walked past a new shop that seems to specialise in the supply of onesies to the Newtown stylemeisters. It was at this point that I learned that Kirsten is a bit of a onesie aficionado (“but I wouldn’t wear it in public,”). Apparently they are unparalleled as after work, house-lounging wear. Seeing as my current choice of house-lounging clobber consists of nastily stained tracky-daks and a twenty year old shag-pile polar-fleece, I am seriously considering a change to a pink and white zebra-striped onesie. It could only be an improvement, although I do worry about the whole toilet thing.
Next up is Burger Fuel. Strop and I will probably keep this one all to ourselves. Unless anyone is really keen?