It must be a strange thing to patronize the same restaurant for over thirty years but Dame M has.
Just around the corner from her is the Shanghai restaurant, but it is not spelt like that and I can't be bothered checking. Since the host, we will call her Jane, took over thirty odd years ago, Dame M has been a regular customer for both eating in and takeaway. She does not eat in much these days as Jane makes her stand outside with the rubbish bins to smoke.
Jane's sixtieth birthday co-incided with Chinese New Year, so Dame M was invited to the restaurant for a feast fit for the Last Emperor. Now Dame M does not eat much. It inteferes with her wine drinking, but she waxed lyrically about the splendid food. I am imagining by her description it was a bit like Babettes Feast.
The weather was warm and at some point the chefs left the kitchen to join the large crowd there celebrating. Dame M said she had never seen anyone so wet from sweat as the chefs. They had worked for hours.
As friends of Dame Ms, whenever we eat there, which is not very often recently as we find her Chinese food a little bland, Jane makes a great fuss of us. In fact Jane makes a great fuss, full stop. But behind her slightly dizzy self and her broken English, lies the mind and business head of a steel trap.
One time when we et there at Chinese New Year, I gave oranges to Jane, as is the CNY custom, and another time I gave her a printed out a picture of her establishment when it was a hotel. There was also some text info. She said she would get her niece to translate it later. She was very pleased to learn its history.
So Happy Birthday to Jane. Hope you have many more.