I have been waiting, like a heroine in fiction, for the specialist lasagne restaurant. London has long been heading this way for the benefit of the consumer-simpleton who can only process one piece of information at a time. It is clearly a response to the glut of choice in late capitalism, and so close to Karl Marx’s home in Dean Street that I can almost feel his cackling shadow. Less choice for your aching head, child, but isn’t it really more choice? The choice not to choose? That phenomenon brought us the pop-up Cadbury’s Creme Egg restaurant, which only served food made with Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. Because people are mad, and getting madder, it had queues around the block.
So here it is, in Soho, opposite the wilting massage parlours, a species of restaurant that my Italian companion insists does not exist anywhere beyond the fantasies of its owner: a lasagneria. I am laughing as I type lasangeria, such is the pathos of this yearning for simplicity, and in Soho. It is called Mister Lasagna and it offers 21 kinds of lasagne at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is, therefore, quite close to 24-hour lasagne, which can only mean that London’s restaurant scene has, finally, exploded with whimsy and lunacy.
The owner, in his PR blurb, mentions his grandmother; she was the loving purveyor of lasagne. If this is her epitaph, I am not sure she wanted it to come this far. Opening an Italian restaurant is a respectable thing to do. Opening a lasagneria is a condition.
I used to quite like lasagne before, at the lasagneria, I technically overdosed on it. I first ate it at Spaghetti Junction in Teddington as a child, under a gaudy painting of an immense restaurant, about which I still dream.