Just after UKLug finished, I had some Van-driving and box-carrying business to do. I left a tall sweaty hairless man shift 150kg of IBM kit into my room (And who says I do nothing for IBM!) whilst I went back to the hotel car park wth the van, after brokering a peace-treaty with the guy who runs it. Well, 'runs' is a bit much. 'Sits in a garden shed, watching TV and doing nothing' might be closer.
However, after ALL that furious activity, I managed to walk over Lambeth Bridge (for about the 50th time in three days). munching a pork pie and bemoaning my feet. Rock, and as they say, Roll. Anywhoo. Met lots of folks at the Westminister arms. Which had the capacity for about 10 people, so the entire UKLUg conference stood on the pavement, and drank Bishops Finger. (Its a beer, not a cheese. Thats 'Stinking Bishop' and its allegedy lovely. But does rather whiff). During this, as I watched my phone battery die and I therefore stopped calling people with my ass (My ass has magical properties, and can speed-dial people on my blackberry when I put my phone there), there was a suggestion that we should go for a 'Ruby'. Now. Some culture lessons for non-Brits.
In Britain, on a friday night, people at the pub (and therefore already in a Ruby-frame of mind) will suggest going for a Ruby. A ruby-murray - or 'Curry'. In other words, an Indian restaurant based meal. Mostly, it'll be Bangladeshi ran (figure that out), and the food bears NO resemblance to any food cooked or eaten in either of these countries. It wa all invented by drunk british Army officers in India, it would appear. And they say British folks are nuts.
So. A Ruby. Usually, the implication is that its not terrilbly expensive. And we can get more beer there. Usually lots more beer than food. However, someone found a curry-house nearby, and had to book a table (Normally, a 'Ruby' is not booked. It happens). So after some iPhone GPS map led lostness by the same tall (if slightly overweight) bald bloke (who as it transpired had the spatial awareness and map reading skills of a corpse), we managed to find the curry house, conveniently located directly opposite Church House, the UKLug venue. We all trooped in and thought 'Oh, this is a little over our pay grade'. After Pants had correctly slapped the Luggage-Wallah in the hall for not correctly stowing his Brompton fold up bendy-bus killing bicycle (another long story) we settled down in an enormous space, dominated by a first floor balcony containing a library. 'Blimey', I thought. 'is service that bad' ? Ah. No. Not in the slightest.
One of the few waiters in that place not of Polish descent (Poles not being famous for being waiters in Bangladeshi ran indian curry houses serving Raj-era fake Indian food. No. Really) correctly spotted our group as 'On the Lash' (Not a S and M phrase. Though I did try and send an American to School Dinners earlier in the week). Beers - and lots of them - were rustled up and generous portions of water splashed on the bottom of our glasses. After the openers, Pants remembered that he'd left his sense of humour and his wallet back in Yorkshire sometime in the early 80s and departed on his folding bicycle. I had the overly fantastic rack of lamb for my main course, and in retrospect, have never loved a piece of food as well. Not only was it perfectly presented (as I like it, in the company of lots of other bits of food and on a plate), it tasted fantastic. I would have quite happily killed random IBM marketing executives for it (though in the current climate of fear, its not an offer I can repeat). It was perhaps the best restaurant food I've had in London ever (beating the Oxo bloody-overpriced-and-terrible-service Tower, and various other eatieries. Easily. The staff were polite in the face of our relentless beer-drinking, and time flew by.
I think what I'm saying is that its perhaps the best 'Ruby' I've ever had. It'll certainly be somewhere I shall take new prospects and existing customers. Its that good.
I might even take SWMBO there. But she did almost kill me when I pointed out that it cost £60. Just for a bit of bread and a main course. So save up. Its worth it.