On Saturday, whilst binge watching some TV, I discovered a new show on Apple TV+, a gentle sporting comedy called ‘Ted Lasso’, about an American gridiron coach who is hired to coach an English Premier League soccer team.
The new owner’s motives for doing so are somewhat Machiavellian – she got the team as part of her divorce settlement from a philandering husband and wants to get her revenge on him by slowly destroying the team, and what better way to do so than by hiring an American who knows nothing about soccer.
Towards the end of episode three, Ted is sitting at lunch with a sports reporter from The Independent, who is writing a detailed piece on him. The restaurant owner keeps bringing out hot dish after hot dish for them.
This did really remind me of what I miss most right now. Eating in restaurants, preferably with a friend for company, and with red wine. I really miss eating in at my local Thai restaurant Bangkok House, where I have been going since it opened 9 years ago (a real family affair with the owner’s aunt in the kitchen and her husband or eldest son helping out with waiting tables), or even the other Thai restaurant in the area, Avondale Thai (another family affair where the owner’s wife is the cook).
I miss Indian food. A friend of mine recently moved to Maribyrnong and lives about 5 minutes’ walk over the bridge from Indian Star, one of the longest established Indian restaurants in the western suburbs (I remember going there 20 years ago – take that Aangan and the others in West Footscray village!). Going to Indian Star in late June is probably close to the last time I have been able to eat seated in a restaurant.
Being in full lockdown means I am now working from home every day, not even venturing once a week into the city. This means I have not even passed through Footscray on the bus or tram in weeks, let alone set foot there. And it must now be about seven months (before the pandemic hit) since I last walked down Barkly Street (a pub crawl with one of my friends in early January to check out all the recently opened bars in Footscray). I think it is almost two years since I last ate at an Ethiopian restaurant in Footscray (fyi, there are about 15 of them at any one given time, and at one point, I had eaten in all of them). When this is over, I must go and eat in all of them again.
Sadly, Jim Wong’s closed down late last year, but Poon’s Chinese Restaurant, which has been there almost as long, is still open in Footscray – or at least it was before this lockdown.
I remember walking through Footscray in Grand Final week four years ago, for the first time after I had returned from a month in Italy. Now, it has been so long, thanks to this lockdown, since I have last been there that when I next walk down Barkly Street, it will seem a totally alien world.
Here’s hoping that all those restaurants and bars survive to see me again.