Eating Out: Your usual table? Who eats where: COURTNEY PINE SAXOPHONIST

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The Independent Culture
I AM THE Wok King of Harrow and a big fan of Chinese food. I do a lot of stir-frying at home, but if I go out, it has to be chicken (or anything else) in black bean sauce at the Water Margin (96 Golders Green Road, NW11, 0181 458 5815). I don't really cook West Indian food at home. My mum was a terrible cook, and so I never learnt how to! Caribbean families in the Fifties ate mostly "solider food", starch-based dishes like yams, dumplings and green bananas. At the time I just wanted to eat chips like my friends.

Now, when I go out, I love to eat well-cooked Caribbean food. Bibi's Kitchen (36 Roundwood Road, NW10, 0181 451 0782) can always sort me out my favourite dishes. It's run by a woman called Bibi, but like everyone else I just call her Mum. Bibi's take-away curried chicken is succulent, and her rice and peas is amazing. Real food of the earth. I prefer intimate places like Bibi's to restaurants in central London where you go to be seen. There's always somewhere good enough to go in your area..

I choose restaurants by looking for ones where people go to eat their native cuisine, the best recommendation. I found Bobby's Tandoori (393 Station Road, 0181 427 9715) this way. It's an informal restaurant in Harrow with a very friendly atmosphere, and does a great shashlick kebab.

Bobby, the owner, and I are always conversing, usually about music, which I think should also be authentic to the restaurant's culture. I'll always say "What's that tune?" because music and me never stop. I'm always listening, always analysing. It's only when the Indian film sound tracks come on that I have to say: "Oh no, Bobby, take it off!"

I love live music when I'm eating, and China Blues in Camden (29-31 Parkway NW5, 0171 482 3940) is a good venue. The food is off-the-cuff Chinese, and not cheap, but you have the added enjoyment of an evening's entertainment. Food is a shared experience, like music. When you're cooking up your music on stage, the audience eats it with pleasure. Making or receiving a good meal should have the same elements as a concert.

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