There are few sights better to help you enjoy a meal than that of other people having an awful time. And when the food is really good, which it just happens to be here, you enjoy yourself enormously.
Partly because of its position, and partly because of the yelling yuppies in the bar downstairs, it had never occurred to me to slide upstairs at Soho Soho. To my surprise, it turned out to be a cool oasis of upholstered chairs and tiled floor in a very overheated area, where the tables are generously spaced and, if you get a window seat, provide marvellous ringside entertainment.
Claire had a terrine de legumes de Provence with aromatic oils, and I had a giant crab ravioli with rich red peppers and a saffron sauce, while a hen party in white stilettos discovered that one of them had lost her handbag.
As three executives lined up outside the Copy Shop and howled into their mobile phones, I toyed with a Confit de Canard that snapped over the teeth and melted on the tongue, and Claire rhapsodised over a dish of roast scallops wrapped in jambon d'Alsace and topped off with garlic crisps. And through the tears as a spectacular platter bearing five exquisite cups and slivers of perfect puds - passion fruit creme brulee, lemon tart, chocolate mousse, shortbread with raspberries, white chocolate mousse and peach coulis, and a teeny ball of sorbet on a doll's-house meringue - demolished itself before us, three men and a girl in a little shorty skirt started doing perfect renditions of the Harry Enfield Scouser sketch, complete with flailing arms and mouths framing the immortal words "calm down".
"Fab food," said Claire. "But nobody told me about the floor show."
Soho Soho, 11-13 Frith St, W1 (0171-494 3491)
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