The Gastro

The Gastro was a small French coffee place and restaurant on Venn Street, just off Clapham Common tube station in south London. It was a place for the comfortably well-off, but also a place for the not-so-comfortably well-off.

I myself liked the nets on the ceiling, and the painted wooden fish hanging from above. I also liked the square table with the benches in one of the rooms, as well as the deaf guy cleaning the plates in the kitchen. The coffee noir was strong, just the way I like it and it was a lovely place to sit with a book.

When I lived in Bromfelde Rd, in Stockwell, going to The Gastro was more than just a well-deserved treat. Our house-share came here for the celebration of the engagement of Zoe, one of our Community members. She had come over from Berlin, and had worked in a lab as a lab assistant. I myself had made my way to London in order to go to a Performing Arts course. I had started working for a company called Rendel Palmer as a typist.

Allan, one of the artists who lived in the Community ordered Champagne and oysters. I myself don’t really like oysters, and I can make do without Champagne.

I had started learning Italian at Westminster Adult Education in Pimlico and danced at the Dance Attic in Fulham every Saturday.

Allan had a day job selling things in an art shop in Warren Street, and had a workshop in Brixton. We had a kitty, and dealt with the food shop and the cooking on a rota basis. We were a happy lot.

I’m so glad that I met these amazing people. Most of us still keep in touch.

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