The title of this blog post is a homage to Aulus Gellius's The Attic Nights, a book, or, more precisely, 20 books, that my father discouraged me to read, for reasons unknown. The story goes as follows: last year I went to the London Press Club Christmas drinks at the Corinthia Hotel, and won a voucher for a three-course dinner for two at Massimo Restaurant. It expired 21 November 2017. We went yesterday, 20 November - oh, don't we like to live dangerously...
It was such a magical experience that I thought I should write about it. Massimo's at the Corinthia is an Italian restaurant set in a most luxurious and super-vast salon, with high ceilings and a decor that borrows from art deco, crazy scientist lab, and some kind of giant lighthouse, embellished with striped, marble-ish columns. It fits very well with all the time I have spent lately studying the works of Jules Verne. He could have easily put one of his characters in there. To cut a short story shorter, I had the best meal I have ever had in London. Perfect food, wonderfully presented on plates whose shape and colour seem to enhance the flavour, and served by the smiliest bilingual army of waiters, who glide through the restaurant, as if skating on ice. The background music, which we shazammed with gusto, was the best of the lesser known Italian music from the Sixties, including Patti Pravo interpreting a New Orleans tune, with such a guttural voice I couldn't even determine whether she was singing in Italian or in English. Some other song had us talking about Frank Sinatra. So, we 'looked him up' as well, and found out that, while his father was, predictably, from Palermo, his mother was from a small town near Genoa, Lumarzo. Having spent 18 years of my life in Genoa, I was surprised that I didn't know, that nobody ever mentioned it. I was less surprised to find out that there is a town called Lumarzo, as my geography could do with some improving. The splendid meal ended with a superb gianduiotto, of which I took a fantastically out of focus picture. It had gold leaf on it. To the waiter's suggestion we took our wine glasses (see picture above) to the courtyard, and enjoyed the modern, slinky, outdoor heater and red parasols that looked like a giant version of cocktail umbrellas. While we were there, chatting and drinking, I started thinking about special nights, African nights, on the Nile, snowy nights in Palomar, and, suddenly, I remembered Aulus Gellius and his Attic Nights, which now I feel old and independent enough to read, against my father's strange veto. And the funny thing is, they pretty much read like blog posts.
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