When I was little my mother brought me to Monton to buy school uniform and visit Monton Radio to pay the rental on our telly. Nowadays; café bars line the main strip here. As I breezed in through the front door of Dumez the man behind the counter uttered the word “sausages”, followed by a woman asking what the round curly ones were like. I saw her ponder a moment then she announced that she didn’t like the round curly ones and that she would have leek and potato soup instead. A couple and three kids took a window table and I shuffled along the queue. The sausage hater was then told that the leek and potato soup came with a bread roll, and the man behind the counter pointed behind her and said that in fact the soup was served with three different types of bread and still gesticulating, he said, “that bread there”. The woman didn’t look at the bread but nodded to him when he asked her if that was ok. My turn to be served next; as all the tables were taken downstairs I asked if I could go upstairs as I wanted to eat. In a very friendly manner he boomed, “yes!” and told me to to go upstairs, make myself comfortable and when I was ready, come back downstairs to order food. So, off I traipsed and took my seat at a table by the top of the stairs. The moment my bum hit the seat I stood up again and moved to a chair opposite. I didn’t want to sit right at the top of the stairs. The shop was incredibly warm.
After choosing my dinner I trudged down the stairs and went to the counter. I ordered the warm tomato bruschetta and asked for an Americano with separate cold milk. I was told this wasn’t a problem. My order was repeated back to me but the word “large” was inserted between “an” and “Americano” and my word “separate” was replaced with the phrase “on the side”. I corrected him and said I’d like a “regular” Americano. This wasn’t a problem. I was told my order would take ten to fifteen minutes. So, back at my upstairs table, U2’s “Angel of Harlem” was playing on a speaker on the windowsill. A couple and their (crying) baby left down the stairs and I smiled at the woman in a two faced manner as she passed me, secretly relieved that they had gone. I remained the sole diner for a few minutes, then two women and a baby loomed up the stairs and I overheard them talking about prams, baskets and a helpful woman in a nearby shop. My food arrived fifteen minutes after I ordered, with a profuse apology for the delay from the lovely looking chef/ waiter; they were having work done in the shop (hence the loud drilling noise). The very humble waiter addressed me as Madam. The food was spectacular. Piping hot, spicy from the chilli, refreshing from the tomato, pungent with balsamic, crunchy with the bread, it had a lot going for it. My coffee, however, had not arrived at this point. I pointed this out to the kind Sir and it was fetched for me straight away with another apology. I finished the bread before the tomatoes and fancied a bit more for mopping up. I asked for some more bread. Me and the waiter were trying to out-humble each other at this point. I ate the remaining bread, finished up my coffee and lumbered downstairs to pay for my extra order. I stood at the counter clutching my unzipped purse in my left hand and I asked how much I owed for the bread. The same man who had taken my order an hour before said it was ok, as I had waited so long for my food (it wasn’t that long actually) I owed him nowt for the bread. I thanked him and he said it wasn’t a problem.