Searching for a centre piece to build our new bar in Fulham Road around, Rupert & I were reminded why as two seemingly sane people, we entered the peculiar world of catering. The opportunity to meet meticulous, creative geniuses like John Bodrell is a reason alone to leap out of bed in the morning.
Propped up at many a great bar across the pond, we concluded that all great bars are underpinned by a little piece of history. They silently tell a story. Over the past 12 years our slate bar top has seen its fair share of action. We wanted something beautiful to compliment this & be an intriguing but functional central focus for our new horse shoe bar.
The hunt led us to a farm in Cobham one afternoon in June, where Rupert & I met John.
He introduced each of his vintage fridges to us as if they were a potential suitor, all fabulous in their own right & complete with life story. We fell head over heels for Lacado Despensa Carne, which John had liberated from a steak restaurant in Buenos Aires. It was as if she was destined for us.
Naturally it was her imperfections that made her special. Eighteen foot in length she was absurdly long for our bar. Her hideous formica top & an e-coli ridden plate rack & sink would certainly have given the lovely Karen Martin sleepless nights.
Issue? No problem, says the yes man. The metamorphosis was spectacular. Enter stage right, a chain saw, a fabulous piece of elm & John’s magic fairy dust….
As John re-worked Lacado Despensa Carne in a way that would make Joan Rivers proud, she began to silently offer up little pieces of history. The original drinks list from the steakhouse in Buenos Aires now hangs in the bar as a tribute to her original form.
The lucky 100 pesos coin dated 1978 that helped prop up her dodgy leg sits in our brick work above table 101.
We hope Lacanda Despensa Carne (& the two waiter stations she spawned) will be as happy in the next chapter of her life on a very different beach. We are absolutely delighted with her. Come & check her out.
Thanks to John Bodrell for going above & beyond. As he might say, some people just get it….