Thursday, 27 June 2013

North Finchley: la dolce vita

Prego! (Is this Sophia Loren?!)
My house-sitting gig in East Finchley has ended and I am now sofa surfing at a friend's house in Finchley Central (is there such a place or is it just a zone 4 tube station?). What I have lost in independence I make up for living in a sumptuous house paid for with the sweat of someone else's brow. This must be how Brian Coleman feels. Or used to feel.

I borrowed a DVD from North Finchley library last week and returned it this evening. I walked home through North Finchley, past Tally Ho Corner, thinking about dinner. I am living with vegetarians and if I want to indulge my disgusting habit of eating cooked animals I have to do it outside - rather like a caveman, aptly.

I fancied an Italian and as luck would have it, rounding the bend of Ballards Lane, came upon an Italian restaurant called Artista. This turns out to be Il Tocco D'Artista - the artist's touch - which I reckon must be one of the stars of the North Finchley dining scene, unprepossessing though it looks from the outside.

I have been on my own for a lot of my life and have spent too many evenings feeling apologetic as a singleton occupying a table in a restaurant. At Artista they turn things on their head and make a celebration of this state of affairs. Singles get promoted to the dais and receive VIP treatment. This seems most apt to me!

People in couples already enjoy - or should enjoy - the company of someone that cares deeply about them, whereas singles need little bits of attention from a few people to feel good. (This must be how my polyamorous friends feel.)

With its good prices, sunny Italian pop music, tasty food, friendly staff, free cold limoncello and fresh fruit, Artista made me feel for an hour the meaning of the phrase "la dolce vita". And this happened in North Finchley!

Then I went out again to walk home in the drizzle past the Finchley and Golders Green Conservative HQ, through the liminal lands between North and Central Finchley, into what I call Coleman country.

Il Tocco D'Artista, Ballards Lane


Unknown said...

I'm Sorry to hear you've moved out of East Finchley!

Citizen Barnet said...

Yes, over the border to... Finchley. See you at the Barnet Alliance AGM* on Monday, Arjun? If you are intrepid enough to travel to... North Finchley.

* Monday 1 July, 7-9pm Greek Cypriot Centre, Britannia Road, N12. Free entry (donations welcome), free food, and a talk by Gerald Shamash, lawyer to Barnet resident Maria Nash in her case for a Judicial Review of Barnet Council's 'One Barnet' privatisation programme.