ALL THAT REMAINS now are the French words ‘moules’, ‘huitres’, and ‘langouste’ (mussels, oysters, crayfish). They are written in large white capital letters attached to a brick wall overlooking Leicester Place, which is a short street running between London’s Leicester Square and Lisle Street.
I am glad these words have not been removed,not only because I enjoy consuming shellfish and crustaceans but also because they provide a reminder of an establishment that thrived between the 1950s and 2006, when it closed for ever: Manzi’s restaurant.
Run by an Italian family, the eatery was famous for its seafood. Although I only ate there a few times, it was always an enjoyable experience.
Another restaurant, which has also closed, was on Lisle Street near Manzi’s. It was a Chinese restaurant called Mr Kong. Like Manzi’s, it had seafood on its menu. Their mussels in black bean sauce were superb. Kong’s also had a vegetarian menu – Chinese vegetarian dishes. I am not a lover of veg dishes, but the vegetarian offerings they rustled up at Kong’s were outstandingly tasty.
Usually, I often remember Mr Kong when I visit Chinatown around Gerrard Street, but it was only when I noticed the French words on the wall that memories of Manzi’s came flooding back.