Moro (‘moorish’ or ‘sexist’) is a Spanish restaurant on Exmouth Market, near the bones of the old Guardian and Observer building on Farringdon Road. I don’t mind telling Spectator readers (‘you people’) that I once kissed the bricks of this building, quite seriously, like Jews kiss the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport. (At least that is the story; but I have never seen anyone do it. Kiss some dirty tarmac. What for?)
Moro is distinguished as the restaurant in which Guardian journalists first realised Julian Assange is mad. He stood up near an olive and announced he didn’t care if the leaks led informants to be murdered, which is a bad look for a revolutionary, until you really think about it. Then I imagine he ate an olive.
And now there is a further political element to Moro; Tony Gallagher, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph, who is very likeable (that is, he liked me, and even allowed me to write ‘leftie crap’ in his newspaper during the 2010 orgy of lies, or as you might prefer to call, the election campaign, which led me to the wretched experience of standing on a Exeter quay at 7 a.m. to watch David Cameron jog past flabbily, because that is what you really need to know about a party leader — how he jogs) is now a kitchen porter here. I will not speculate why he is doing it, because I don’t know. He may be having an ‘Orwell moment’. He may be opening a restaurant (he always posted pictures of food on Twitter, even during small internal crises or fights in the Tory party, which at the Daily Telegraph pass for major shifts in the landscape of history) and an intelligent man, if desirous of opening a restaurant, would obviously become a kitchen porter. He may simply love washing up; it is very restful after dealing with bloggers. He may be in debt to the olive mafia and paying it off. He may have found religion, and confused Moro with a convent. We don’t know; and he isn’t telling. His Twitter feed is deliberately, sadistically confounding.
So I am here, because I cannot help but fantasise that Moro has thrown off its progressive robes and is now the centre of a right-wing cult. I sit at my table, near a moss-green wall, surrounded by what Spectator readers (‘you people’) would call ‘left-wing stereotypes’ — that is, they have grey hair and look like Ralph Miliband (‘my people’) and try to imagine right-wing journalists busy in the kitchen. Is James Delingpole making napkin swans, and telling the swans he imagines are female that a private education, in their case, is a waste of money? Is Toby Young pontificating noisily at a sprout, telling it to resign? Is Conrad Black kneading something? Is Charles Moore ironing a tea towel, saying, it’s OK, it’s only a re-run of the 1992 election? (It really isn’t.) This leads to another reverie, which was my favourite reverie when I worked at the London Evening Standard, particularly when he was shouting — is Max Hastings moonlighting as the manager of the Chicken Shack on the Edgware Road? And if not, why not?
To the food: it’s OK, but you people wouldn’t like it. I have a vegetarian mezze, all jewel-coloured salads, violently seasoned bread and confusion; K orders lamb. It’s slightly cold. We are not excited by pudding (yoghurt?), so later we go to Rules for treacle sponge pudding. Now that is a Tory restaurant.
I can’t see Mr Gallagher. The kitchen is open to the room and though I walk past it repeatedly, looking for Gallagher but trying to look as if I am looking for something else (condiments?), he isn’t there. Apparently Guido Fawkes has been doing the same thing; as has Boris Johnson. Fools.
Moro, 34-36 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE, tel: 020 7833 8336.
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