While I was a student, I had a part-time job in the shop at the National Gallery and me and my colleagues often used to go and get falafels for lunch from a place called Gaby’s in Charing Cross Road. I had a couple of hours free last Wednesday so I asked Alessandro if he fancied going there for lunch. As we were walking up from Trafalgar Square, I thought the cafe might have gone but luckily it was still there. It was about a decade since I’d been there but the falafels were reassuringly just the same – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and snuggled inside pitta with lots of hummus. As we munched away, we chatted about how nice it was to be somewhere that was so kind of real and unassuming – a café that wasn’t a homogenised chain and had its own identity. It was also packed so it was obviously very popular.
Just as we were leaving, I noticed lots of newspaper cuttings on the wall. It appeared that Gaby’s had become pretty famous! In 2011, the landlord wanted to turf them out so that the site could be developed but lots of celebrities (that had been going there for years) supported them and succeeded in getting the tenancy agreement extended. I read that Gaby, now in his 70s, had come to London 50 years ago, opened the cafe and actually introduced the falafel to Britain! There were pictures of him with Matt Damon and other stars and on the way out, I passed him working away behind the counter with a smile on his face.
1. to fancy (verb)
To feel like doing something. This verb also has other meanings.
2. a decade (noun)
3. reassuringly (adverb)
If something is reassuring, it makes you feel comfortable or safe
4. snuggle (verb)
This verb is usually used when someone puts themselves into a warm, comfortable position. I've used it in a slightly different way and described the falafels as being comfortable in the piita bread.
5. to munch away (phrasal verb)
To eat something for some time, especially something crispy that makes a noise.
6. unassuming (adj.)
A place that is not trying to draw attention to itself. This can also be used about a person.
7. homogenised (adj.)
Something that is the same as other things
8. newspaper cuttings (noun)
articles that have been cut from newspapers
9. to turf out (phrasal verb)
To tell someone/people that they have to leave a place (often in a hurry).
10. tenancy agreement (noun)
A document that landlords give their tenants.
11. stars (noun)
12. to work away (phrasal verb)
To work hard or for a long time.