It would be very easy to slate The Maple Leaf (http://www.themapleleaflondon.co.uk/) for serving average bar fare in somewhat artifical surroundings whilst having to endure the overbearing volume of the football commentary. I did that, but lost the text when Sandra, 19 from Croydon, emailed me saying she urgently needed me to take her virginity. I’m a sensationally happily married Del Monte, but I felt that maybe her urgent need might be the symptom of a deeper problem so I tried to offer my assistance. One system restore later, here we are and I’m not writing that screed again.
The big disappointment is the paucity of properly Canadian options on the menu, when myself, the Del Montessa and Toronto Jones, my go-to Archaeologist and a bona fide Canuck, visited for lunch. Salmon is apparently ubiquitous and is therefore present on the menu (though unavailable when we tried to order); there was a Venison & Blueberry Burger – arguably a bit Canadian – though the small print confessed that the patty was as much pork a it was venison, and the Montessa indicated that it was much more porky than venison. The only genuinely Canadian thing on the menu was poutine. But chips, cheese and gravy is what all people in the north have been subsisting on for decades before they discovered Pizza Express. It might be Canadian, but hardly feels Canadian. As much as I was non-plussed by Walkabout, at least I was able to order kangaroo. Surely moose or elk on the menu would be a real differentiator. I would have killed for some beaver.
To be fair, the Maple Leaf does present itself as a sports bar. And so I was able to watch Norwich v Aston Villa whilst enjoying a tall, cool Moosehead Pale Ale. The bargirls were terrific and were nice enough to wipe down the menus before doling them out. But if The Maple Leaf is a home from home for Canadians, as it claims, then Canada must be a lot like ropey, second tier market towns of the midlands. Canada is like Kettering. But more polite. Kettering slam!
£50 for three people. I’d go again to watch the football, but I’d eat beforehand.
We took in the matinée of Private Lives at the Gielgud Theatre after lunch. I’d highly recommend it, but it was the penultimate show of its run. So if you want to go see it, you’ll have to construct a time machine. And if you go to those lengths then perhaps you’ll want to do something a bit more noble than going to see a theatre play. Oh I don’t know, how about neutralising Pasquale? You selfish oafs.
The Maple Leaf
41 Maiden Lane
Covent Garden, London
Tel: 020 7240 2843