The Café de la Paix is a Euro-retro luncheon joint catering almost exclusively to the minimalist power crowd—sleek-maned PR moguls, multi-lingual CEOs, skinny models draped in black, high-profile lawyers, agents, rock stars, fans. Everyone is dressed to the teeth; no one eats enough to keep a bird alive. In fact, there is fierce competition among the regulars as to who can eat the least:
‘I’ll have the flounder plain, a little lemon, a little oil.’
‘I’ll have the flounder plainer, a little lemon, no oil.’
‘I’ll have the lemon.’
The menu, however, as the restaurant’s name implies, is French. So are the waiters. By the time Harry arrives, deeply apologetic for having been caught up in a last-minute internet conference call to Minsk, Sam has made friends with theirs, a hatchet-faced curmudgeon of a man with elegant carriage and utter disdain for what he scornfully refers to as ‘Monsieur, le cuz-toe-mere.’ His name is Fabrice, and he can tell by the fit of Sam’s hound’s-tooth jacket that here, finally, is someone who eats. He was beginning to doubt he would live so long.
Up next … Episode 5: I Only Have Eyes for Stew