Twenty One: The Tiger, Camberwell, SE5 7AA

The venue: The Tiger, 18 Camberwell Green, SE5 7AA


The Sunday dinner: Chicken

The price: £13

Hello and welcome to the 21st Sunday Dinner Diaries. I’m quite impressed I’ve lasted this long, you know. I usually abandon hobbies within three weeks of starting them, aside from excessive drinking that is – a skill I’ve been honing for around 27 years. But enough about my success and black liver. Let’s review this past week before I provide another honest, expert opinion on a local eatery.  

After a fun-packed Easter weekend, which barely any of you bothered to read about according to my statistics, you ungrateful shits, I took a leisurely walk to Greenwich on Bank Holiday Monday with Mr Jus and Ripley. We stopped for brunch – one of my most hated portmanteaus alongside jeggings – on the way back. 

Mr Jus had one of those breakfasts that are sort of based on a traditional English, but, because everyone is so up their own arse around here, uses Merguez sausages, giant baked beans with paprika on, and sourdough bread drizzled with olive oil. It ruined, with poncery, what could have been a gorgeous plate of muck. He enjoyed it, of course. 

I had a bland frittata and salad, which made me even more depressed about the imminent return to work after the four day weekend. 

On Tuesday morning, as I scrolled through my social media timelines in bed, while also thinking about business strategies and the role employee engagement plays in productivity gains, Mr Jus remarked on how different our Facebook feeds are, as he looked over my shoulder, like a controlling spy. 


I then had to explain what a prig was, so felt even more intellectually superior than usual, despite my lack of private education. 

Later this week, I learned that his family had never used a catalogue or interest-free credit to buy things. He seemed bemused at the thought of people spreading payments for furniture and the like, although he is “aware of catalogues”. He just didn’t know they allowed people to pay for things in instalments. I called him a sheltered, privileged prick who has no idea what it was like growing up in the hood. I ranted about how out of touch he was with reality. 

“It’s funny how the working classes so vehemently defend their background and wear it as some badge of honour,” he said, before adding, knowing full well I’d use this remark in my blog post: “Is it because they know they’re inferior?” 

Even though he’s sort of joking, I hope this will turn even more of you against him. 

Later that day, he sent me a dirty photo. Before you think my sex life has taken a turn for the better, here it is: 

That’s right. The filthy image was merely three globules of dog shit on the kitchen floor. There had been an accident in my absence. Poor old Ripley and her upset tummy. Poor old me and my cobwebbed vagina. I think I can actually feel my hymen growing back, which could turn out to be an online dating selling point. 

On Wednesday, Mr Jus turned 46. His main present from me – wireless Bose headphones – went down well and hopefully made him feel sufficiently guilty for not buying me a tangible birthday gift. It was the main reason I purchased them, to be honest. 

I made him breakfast in bed and left for another busy day at the coalface. Its highlight saw me snaffling trays of half-eaten Pret sandwiches out of the boardroom following a senior leaders’ meeting, with the stealth and determination of a leftover buffet-stealing professional. Which I am. I triumphantly returned to my desk like a successful Crackerjack contestant. If you’re too young to recall the show, it was like this:

One of the best days at work of the year so far, truth be told. I took Mr Jus out for his birthday tea that evening, again exhibiting my generosity and good nature. On the train home, he watched a video of a dog having its anal glands emptied. I was unsure if this was a secret signal that I was on a promise.

It was not a secret signal, sadly. The only physical contact came when he woke me up and then recoiled in horror after touching a wet patch on my dressing gown. Thankfully, I was able to prove I hadn’t pissed myself, but had merely fallen asleep on the sofa while holding a glass of sherry, which I believe sounds sophisticated, if anything. 

Thursday morning featured a family visit to the vet to have Ripley’s nether regions looked at. During the examination, I asked the hot, young male vetinary surgeon if there was a possibility of Ripley living forever. 

“I’m afraid not,” he advised, as he prodded her vulva. I felt envy at his actions, but contempt at his words. How could he be so sure? He’s barely out of nappies. I shall, of course, seek a second opinion on that matter. She can’t ever die. I love her too much.

When he left the room, Mr Jus told me to stop flirting and let the man get on with his job. I felt contempt at his words too, so decided to grind my pelvis against the examination table, simulating what I’d do to the vet upon his return. He told me to grow up.

I stopped gyrating and listened intently as the vet returned to explain they’ll need to flush out Ripley’s anal glands under anaesthetic next week if the antibiotics don’t work. 

I know this level of detail isn’t what people want, or expect, from a food blog, by the way. I doubt Jay Rayner includes photos of dog crap in his restaurant reviews for The Guardian, for example. I suppose it’s just one of the many reasons I’m not a revered columnist. Yet. 

On Friday, we went to see Lucy McCormick’s ‘Triple Threat’ show at Soho Theatre. It was a very enjoyable and fun evening out, made better by seeing Mr Jus’ shocked face when she used a vibrator during the opening number and was later fingered live on stage. He told me he was glad we hadn’t invited his parents. My mum wouldn’t have been too horrified, but as she’s still paying off a dining table and chairs she bought in 1987 out of Kay’s, she couldn’t afford a ticket. 

Frankfurters were thrown into the crowd during a scene about the birth of Jesus. One landed in my lap, causing a frisson of excitement at first, and culminating in a treat for my immortal hound. Look how she had to be restrained, such was her excitement. That eye strain must be almost unbearable: 

On Saturday, I stepped up my quest to dine with Garry Bushell. As a reminder, I’m targeting Garry because of this 2014 incident, captured on my Facebook timeline:

Thanks for your support, Emma Jayne and five others. Mr Jus would probably have all six of you Facebook plebs working on his land, given half a chance. He’d request that you didn’t look at him directly if he was passing through the fields on his Shetland Pony, which is the size of a stallion to him. He actually seems to be shrinking as he ages, so I’ve been telling him that I think he has a crumbling spine. I’m nice like that.

I also drew Garry’s face on an egg three weeks ago. Let’s see the likeness again: 

Unlike the ignorant bastards from New Kids On The Block, who I’m still pissed off with, Garry responded to my photo tweet with good grace and humour.

I think he really might let me buy him dinner, you know. Here’s a snippet from our conversation I did a screen shot of when I had 100% battery:

It seems positive, doesn’t it? He could well be my first, and only, celebrity Sunday Dinner Diary companion, if you discount the week we went to The Oxymoron with Harrison Ford and Mick Hucknall. 

Mr Jus is, at best, bemused by the situation. He finds the whole thing Bizarre (clever reference to GB’s former showbiz column in The Sun, which can’t be that clever as I’m pointing it out in these brackets in case you think the capital B is a typo).  

I just think it would be funny. For me, if not for Garry. I’ll ask him the same inane questions I ask every new person I meet, such as the age they were when they first had an olive AND enjoyed it. It’ll be insightful stuff. 

We also have things in common: he’s a working class southerner with a beard, who became a successful, published writer and I’m a working class northerner with a beard. Two out of three ain’t bad, as Meatloaf once said. 

I’ve even daydreamed about us having our own TV restaurant review series – a bit like The Trip, but with me and Bushell visiting every Toby Carvery in England via National Express. 

I’ve also thought how this could be the first in a series of celebrity Sunday Dinner Diaries interviews. My sister wants me to approach the Chuckle Brothers next, but there’s no way I’m paying for both Paul and Barry. Fuck that. 

I’ve also considered penning a sitcom about a salt-of-the-earth Grimsby girl, living with a tiny snob in London, who has a dream baby with a TV critic. He then moves in and Mr Jus has to go and live behind the skirting board, popping out occasionally to make disparaging remarks about commoners or to go out cycling. Hilarity would inevitably ensue. Garry and I would cast ourselves in the lead roles of course, while Verne Troyer would play Mr Jus, or perhaps Warwick Davis – whoever’s cheapest. 

Basically, the creative possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to see how this pans out. Probably with me receiving a strongly worded letter from Garry’s solicitor, to be honest. I’ll keep you posted. 

For now, let’s review what I just ate. Here’s the dish of the day again: 

I’ll be honest, The Tiger was our fourth choice today. Not even sloppy seconds. The three venues we tried before had either stopped serving food or didn’t serve food to at all. Poor planning on our part.

The Arsenal/Man City match was on, which is fine, but the commentary competed with a dance soundtrack and the two didn’t quite gel as background noise. The table we sat at had a dried candle wax lake as a feature and, to be frank, I felt that it wasn’t going to be a venue I’d book for my wedding reception or a party. I wouldn’t even go out of my way to return there for a pint. It wasn’t rough, as such, but it wasn’t refined enough. Even for me. They’d attempted a quirky table lamp theme, but they didn’t set my table, let alone world alight. 

I opted for chicken, while Mr Jus went off piste and ordered a burger, resulting in his age old query about whether they’d do it rare for The Little Vampire. They wouldn’t. He enjoyed it all the same.

My chicken came with carrots, tender-stem broccoli, a few roasts and, of course, extra gravy. Oh, and a Yorkshire pudding, which was already soggier than Wednesday night’s dressing gown before I doused it in relatively thick, but bland, gravitas (gravy). Which added no gravitas (gravitas) but did add gravy (gravy). Look. It was acceptable, as Mel and Kim once said. Actually, they said respectable. It wasn’t that. It was acceptable. As I originally said. 

I think I sound disappointed. I am. I’m also rushing the review bit, because I want to drink wine and have a bath and watch Line of Duty.  I’m going to turn to Mr Jus for his Quote Of The Week. He’s just sent it to me via WhatsApp.

“The burger is good but was overdone because of that bullshit ‘I’m afraid medium rare is the least we can cook it’ rule. Except it wasn’t medium rare. It wasn’t even medium. It was well done. The fries were handcut and super skinny. I really enjoyed it but I was also really hungry which tends to hamper some of my more critical faculties.”

Right. Not only has he failed to say anything pleasant about me this week, he’s also used the term ‘super-skinny’. Prefixing any word with super (super-skinny, super-cool, super-sweet, super-friendly) is super-fucking-annoying. Also, ‘handcut fries’. Also, ‘critical faculties’. 

Anyway, he’s about to put his washing on, and I really hope he’s going to hang my stuff from the machine, because I don’t have the energy to. It would be a really nice gesture and would make me forget I didn’t get a tangible birthday present until next Sunday, when I’ll bring it up again.

Final score: 19/33


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