My friend Roy Jordan, who had provided me with film editing services for some years, came over to our house near Brentwood in Essex. He drove in his newly acquired Rolls Royce. The previous owner was Stanley Holloway and Roy wanted to show it off. Roy was accompanied by his wife and they invited us to dine with them at The Moat House in London Road, Brentwood – now known as Marygreen Manor.
We had a first class meal, but the story concerns the wine. The waiter brought along the wine list and Roy asked me if there was one I preferred. I spotted a Minervois that we had recently bought and drank in France.
Her said that we should get a bottle. When it came to the table, I saw that the label was identical to that of the one we had had in France. There was a big difference. In France we had paid the equivalent of £3 for the bottle. At the Moat, it was £14. It seems that when red wine travels, it gathers price. Of course, I did not tell Roy.
Back at the office, we discovered another restaurant. It is called Efes in Great Portland Street. At that time it was quite small. It served Turkish food and, at that time and for some years afterwards, it provided us with excellent food.
It was quite small, shop front width and extending back about thirty-five feet. One day we went there to find it closed for re-building. Efes was about the centre of the five premises in the row between Foley Street and Howland Street. What they achieved was to buy the rear basement of all the premises between them and Howland Street and turned it into a huge dining hall. It was reached by a staircase from the original restaurant.
For some years, we were able to sample the finest recipes from Turkey and the Middle East. Wonderful kebabs, mezes and tender lamb dishes.
It became more expensive, but still, at that time, the food was excellent.
Next chapter: Chapter 83: Hungry at a State Dinner