First dates can be excruciating. Sat alone to my left the empty chair of a table for two, a cry for pity from the rest of the room. To my right, both full yet so diametrically opposed that he’d use the table for chess, while she’d use it for lines. No-one was having fun. They should have all gone home; but instead, they stay and persever. She might yet show, he might yet prove to be interesting, and perhaps the bathroom has a nice clean flat surface anyway.
Someone could make a good TV show out of first dates. Every cringingly embarrassing moment caught on camera and yet more editorially engineered to enhance the effect. Until they do, I’ll just keep watching live dates, safe in the knowledge that when I’m on a date my suave failure to pronounce foreign words of any kind and the slick African themed pocket square protruding from my blazer pocket negate the chance of embarrassment. I am simply far too cool.
Sat between the chess player, the drug addict, and the loner at Tramontana Brindisa, I was overwhelmed and my imagination ran wild. Who knows what libellous backstory I could have constructed for each of them had I ploughed through more glasses of cava without eating dinner. The food, however, was too distracting. Blood red steak and blood red pork (it was supposed to be like that) sat alongside a cheese pasta ‘thing’ - like a lasagne, but just pure cheese - breads, and a variety of leaves.
As with all tapas, my mind is addled when there is more plate than table in front of my eyes. I pick a spoon or forkful from each and mix the flavours, unable to distinguish between any of them as they melt and swim across my tongue. Pork, steak, cheese; steak, cheese, pork; cheese, pork, steak; broken only by bread and the odd green stalk. A tapas smoothy, with every ingredient good. A lazy review, yes; but certainly true. A creme catalana followed, studded with strawberries; with a bowl of custard, caramel, and the sweetest of all the fruits, how can you go wrong?
I left Tramontana Brindisa with my head spinning slightly from cava, my heart weighed heavy by meats and custard, and my Africa themed pocket square dangling from my pocket. Exactly how you should feel emerging from a good meal. As I wandered past, the loner since joined by a girl, clearly in a relationship of some years, and the other date? Pawn to queen's knight 4.