When I was 18 (or, in any case, very nearly almost 18), there was a london club called Purple, which at that time was the place to be. It was on the Fulham Road, and I can tell you very little about the club, except that it was exceptionally dark, and occasionally girls danced on the carefully positioned podiums, until they became too giggly with their own daring and fell off.
What I remember most clearly about Purple were the queues of taxis waiting outside to take us home. It had been drilled into me and my friends, at home and at school, that we must never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, get into an unlicensed cab. (Other, unbreakable rules which I still abide by, though I believe my friends may have evolved into fully-fledged adults: never dye your hair, always wear matching underwear, never talk to strangers, always offer your seat to your elders, never put your elbows on the table). The cabs were, most likely, registered and chosen by the club themselves, but I remember constantly traipsing miles down the Fulham road to find a black cab. Which was usually so cripplingly expensive that we had to get out a few moments later, and consider a night bus. (I believe my parents thought I possessed more common sense than I did).
The bus stop was right across the road from London's 24 hour restaurant, Vingt-Quatre. So, feeling delightfully smug about all the money we had saved by not getting a taxi, we used to pile into this poor restaurant at 3am and gossip and giggle in quite the most grown-up manner possible. 'I will have an egg-white omelette,' I said, believing this to be the most sophisticated dish it was possible to eat. 'And some chips,' I added, because I was 17 years old and egg-white omelettes are terrible.
Purple is long-gone but Vingt-Quatre is alive and well, and has just had a makeover. I popped along to see if I could recapture some of my glory days. Unfortunately, not being almost 18 years old anymore, I get tired nowadays, and so I went for dinner, rather than at 3am.
The restaurant looks lovely-even when a person is sober.
It's small and modern, and filled with the most disparate selection of punters I have ever seen. In the corner, a local hammered away on her laptop whilst eking out a coffee, whilst opposite us a gentleman took his Mother out for dinner, next to a table of 15 year olds who tried (unsuccessfully) to order a bottle of wine.
The menu is filled with simple, well-prepared food, and being a fully-fledged adult, I avoided the egg-white omelette and had the chicken milanese, which was excellent (even when not compared to an egg-white omelette). The best part of the evening was the pudding- a VQ knickerbocker glory, which came with one of those extra-long spoons so I could get deep into all the chocolate sauce. After all, I owed it to my 17 year old, egg-white omelette-eating self. Though possibly I didn't need a brownie as well.
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