Monday, December 03, 2007

Year of Eating Differently (58): Cafe Arlington, Dean Street

I went to the bank today, and outside there was a Welshman begging by the ATM. Had mixed feelings about this - lots of people were handing him change, and it was cold, and he was missing a few teeth, and could possibly do with some money, but on the other hand you don't spend the best part of a year detailing the iniquities of charity for your MA dissertation and then feel you have to justify not giving somebody cash just because they asked for it.
However, things got further confused when I went up the street to Cafe Arlington. Pretty empty inside and devoid of atmosphere (partly due to the lack of customers, and partly because of the scaffolding outside blocking the view) but before I went in and got my felafel and roasted pepper panino (there's a confluence of cultures...) I didn't realise it was run as an effort to give the homeless and those who find it hard to find work some kind of job.
Not that morality and ethical aspects should shape what the food tastes like. Beneath this unprepossessing exterior lurks a heart of darkness, etc etc. But - well, not bad. No queue because I was the only customer (have they not got a good location? possibly not - people will walk out of Soho Square and demonstrate the human tendency to turn right rather than left, which rather disadvantages the establishment) so I got served quickly. Bread was rubbish - not panini at all, but what appears to be a baguette - but the combination of that with felafel and roasted peppers makes for some good, sweaty dirty lunchtime fare. So they got away with it this time.


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