Pizzeria Pappagone

It’s an Italian restaurant in North London. 131 Stroud Green Road, N4 3PX to be precise. According to some Internet restaurant review sites it’s “at war” with another Italian pizzeria called La Porchetta Pizzeria which happens to be only a few doors away on the very same Stroud Green Road.

The best Italian pizzas in London?
(Taken with my cameraphone whilst waiting hungrily for pizza in North London.)

Upon entering this pizzeria (which is not far off the shadow of the new Arsenal football stadium) I was given a hearty shake of the hand by the Italian owner, and not long later was treated to some fine Italian-style pizzas cooked up in what I can only describe as an “authentic” pizza-oven slap-bang in the middle of the restaurant. And very tasty they were. Exceptional value (i.e cheap) , and exceptionally tasty. Thoroughly recommended. And for those with a naturally Indian disposition towards chillie hot spice, they serve their pizzas with a bottle of chillie oil for drizzling on your pizza. Beware though; you’ll never eat pizza from Pizza Hut or Dominos ever again …

Chinese Takeaway

Lee Garden is my local Chinese takeaway. It’s near the tube station on my High Street. And if I’m travelling home late in the evening, knowing that there’s nothing to prepare myself a dinner at home, I might pop in for a takeaway as I walk back. I love this takeaway. I love Singapore fried noodles. I love waiting there, listening to the hissing and clanking sounds coming from the back as my noodles get tossed around in the wok. (At least that’s what I assume is happening.) I love the way in which what turns out to be a mountain of tasty, spicy noodles can be compressed so skillfully into such a small plastic container. I love the fact that the (microweavable and dishwashable) container can be reused over and over again. As anyone living or raised in Indian family household will know, containers like this are essential for passing on leftovers of food to friends and family when there’s just too much left over at the end of an extended family get-together.

But something changed at my local Chinese takeaway recently. It was closed for a week or so – for refurbishment. The picture below shows what it used to look like inside for many years. Just like any other Chinese takeway in London does. Click on the right-hand side button below the picture to see how it looks now, in its new style. You can also click on the left-hand side button to revert back to the old style if you prefer it.

I’m a bit saddened by this change. There was something reassuringly Chinese-takeaway-ish about the previous style. But I’m also optimistic about the new design. It’s very wine-bar-ishly, Apple iPod-ishly, 21st century. So if you’re feeling musically inclined, you could also select an accompanying tune to go with the picture. The “old” tune is a beautifully sad song, about a broken “Ghungroo” by the legendary Indian ghazal-master Pankaj Udhas, and the “new” one is a 21st century, progressive, wine-bar compatible, clubbing tune called At Night (remix of course) by Shakedown. Take your choice.

Old music
New music

(Click in the green buton to load the music. Turn up the volume. Shouldn’t take too long. After it loads click the play button and if you wish to stop, just hit stop.)

But the Singapore fried noodle tastes just as good as it always has!

Green Park Tunnel

The London Underground is full of delightful little surprises. This is just one.

The tunnel walkway that connects the Jubilee and Piccadilly Lines at Green Park.
(Taken with my cameraphone underground. Uploaded to Flickr above ground.)

The London Underground system is so old, and grows so organically over time, that quite often things aren’t as efficient as they could be. For example, the walkway between the Jubilee Line and Piccadilly Line platforms at Green Park station is a long underground tunnel that takes a good few minutes even walking at a brisk pace.

And walking at a brisk pace is what I normally do whenever I have to do this tunnel. So brisk that I never really notice a very clever but quirky little detail about this walkway. We all know that the colour coding used on the tube is excellent, consistent and familiar. For example, that the colour of the Piccadilly Line is dark blue and and the Jubilee Line is grey (or silver), but did you know that as you walk from the Picc platform to the Jub platform through this tunnel at Green Park, the tiny little mosaic tiles on the white walls of this tunnel start off with speckles of dark blue only and then gradually become a mixture of dark blue and grey as you progress through the tunnel, eventually becoming grey only at the Jub Line end?

It’s when you discover delightful little things like this that you really appreciate the not-so-obvious designs and patterns that exist in the underground system.

(Many thanks to Marcus for pointing this out to me ages ago!)