Eat Uzbekistani

It was this restaurant that opened down on the main drag. Around that time I was in one of these habitual cycles of getting takeaway from a joint directly across the street each Friday night. I watched it change from a laundrette to restaurant. It’s not the same as knowing of shops that had been there before me, that –as far as knew– could have been there forever.
During its coming together I could see the elements of Eat Uzbekistani being added; bain-marie, tables + chairs, light fittings, paint. The basic elements of “restaurant” were shown for what they were — stuff in a building. For me at least, there was no illusion of fanciness or mystery built in.

It opened. After only a couple of weeks it was busy each Friday night. Not an empty table to be seen; while I waited for my fish and chips I’d stand with my face against the glass peering at the vivid blue-painted place across the street, then on my way home would walk by the front of it. It only ever bothered to open on Friday and Saturday nights. Who were the people tthat could afford to run a shop like that?
There was a homecomputer-style A4 ‘poster’ tacked onto its window saying, “Belly-dancer each Friday night”. Perhaps this was the crowd-pulling element. But then sometime later I saw the belly-dancer and it was just some whitey, dreaded-up hippy chick.

It had those wooden doors with large windows in them that could be rolled back on their runners to have the whole front of the joint open. It was winter so they were shut. One evening I was standing, waiting, peering across as I did and saw a mildly heavy-set, middle-aged respectable-looking businessman type get thrown back-first through one of the large window-doors out onto the street. He slowly got up and brushed glass off the back of his jacket off and walked away. I couldn’t tell who did the throwing, but could see patrons packed around tiny tables near the front there. It was as if none of them had noticed it.
I don’t think it was the same man, but the same thing happened a week later too.

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