Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Margarita Club

It all began on a Friday in summer last year. The wife of V’s friend, my firm friend and then a very new mother, e-mailed to say she needed an afternoon of lunching with adults and not thinking about feeding, pooping and sleep schedules. So could we meet in town to have lunch while her husband stayed home and looked after their child? Of course I could! The added advantage that there would be no possibility of spontaneous breaking into nursery rhymes would just be a bonus for her. Another relatively new mother, friend in common, would join in. And to keep pace/ balance with the child-free one (me) company we roped in another friend in common.

And so it was that we met at Covent Garden (sans any children, bequeathed to their fathers for the afternoon) on a sunny Saturday and proceeded to procure a table at Wahaca. I’ve reviewed Wahaca before (I love the place) and although any American (and some in particular) will tell you that it is not a patch on what you get in Amreeka, sadly (not) it’s what we have to make do with in London. On this particular Saturday it did not matter. Glasses of Margarita’s (and other non-alcoholic beverages as I don’t drink) and a bunch of street food plates accompanied by nachos and guacamole kept us going while the 4 of us talked non-stopped. About what specifics I do not clearly recall – but it was a mix of childhood/ growing up in India experiences, relationships with spouses, friends and family and anecdotes of life in London. What I do recall is that we sat there for nearly 4 hours and we laughed a lot. And I mean a lot. It was a Girl’s Night Out in the daytime. The Margarita Club (which only I refer to it as in my head) was duly born.

In a land where help is scarce and expensive it falls to weekends to socialize and run errands and so it was that a few months and a stack of 27 emails passed before another common date and our next meal was planned. This time we chose trendy Angel and a highly recommended Italian place to eat. La Porchetta on Upper Street did not turn out to be all that I imagined but it was neat, clean and the food was hearty and wholesome rather than delicate and pretentious. The conversation was outstanding yet again. And with the added bonus of pastries and coffee in the lovely Ottolenghi (which is a sweet-toothed girls café heaven by afternoon and sophisticated, sparkling restaurant by night) and a walk through Camden Passage we had a lovely day.

By this second rendezvous the opportunity to whinge and talk freely without the need for censorship had quickly come upon us. Clearly this was as much therapy for me as it was just good solid connectivity with women friends for us all. In my many years in London it has always been socialising with colleagues or other couples that V and I know. I have made some great individual gal pals but thus far no group to be a foil to my endless conversation with their endless conversation. So this has been an opportunity I have grabbed at – a small group of 3 girl friends who will not just hear but listen, share advice, give as much as they take, banter, argue, tell it like it is and chatter. Women who share a context with my life in that we are all migrants to this country. Of course there are many such but it takes an invisible, unquantifiable clicking to make that connection and somehow we made it without even realising it.

We’ve had a few more meals since, each as special for the company as the food -trying out new places is now part of the dance. But in this hectic pace of life where work, distance and other commitments take up so much of our time and energy it is difficult to find the time to do this as often as one would like. And in a strange way that just makes each time, once a quarter or so, something special.

For this, the (randomly named) Margarita Club I am grateful.

La Porchetta: 141-142 Upper Street, London, N1 1QY. Tel: 020 7288 2488
Ottolenghi: 287 Upper Street, London N1 2TZ. Tel: 020 7288 1454. E-mail:


  1. Anonymous10:16 PM


    This sounds perfect. This is exactly what every gal needs. Is membership still open ?

  2. You mean you have a social circle even after I left?

    How is that possible? Doesn't the world revolve around me?

  3. Anonymous12:55 PM

    I love this post. I miss London and I miss my girlfriends there. I recently moved back home to India after being away for 14 years, I now trying to re-build the network of freinds and am dreaming of the day when I will have a leisurely lunch with a couple of girls, great food and great conversation...I live in hope :)

  4. Please may I join the club too? I promise to be well-behaved.

    Lovely post as ever!

  5. Sapna9:33 PM

    Really liked this post, would you like to expand your club to the Midlands? We have great restaurants / cafes and of course company here too.

  6. Ladies: The point is not to be jealous or want to join our club (to which by the way membership is not an option) - it is to inspire you to start a club of your own wherever you are with friends you have - there are women friends and restaurants everywhere! Also only I call it a club (mainly in my head!), it isn't really - we don't have a secret password or a president - we aren't 5 years old anymore and this ain't no secret society of the sisterhood!

    Broom: Oh sweetie I thought delusion self-centre-dom was only mine (as I have been charged with) - clearly it isn't!!! Who asked you to move to Canada!? Come back...

  7. You deluded self-centred woman! I will start my own club. Table for one, please! Hmph!

  8. secret society, sisterhood, meetings, BAH. I am trying to get out of the coven which is being going strong for almost 7 years now (hence my original blog name). I hate the name. I want to keep meeting the girls, but want them to forget the stupid name.

    Also sisterhood meetings seem to add up and hurts my pocket in the end of the month :(

  9. forgot to add, it also hurts my pocket in another way too, need to buy new clothes. I kid you not, one dress size bigger than I was last year :(