thu 05/08/2021

Cabaret Falafel, Gaby's Deli | reviews, news & interviews

Cabaret Falafel, Gaby's Deli

Cabaret Falafel, Gaby's Deli

Sing out for Gaby's Deli: a theatre landmark is threatened

Gaby's owner, Gaby Elyahou, not quite ready to singPhoto: © Alex Lentati

Even in London’s variegated show-world, something called Cabaret Falafel stands out as an exotic title. To discover that it will take place in a delicatessen, performed by the wonderful Henry Goodman, makes it both more piquant and more explicable, for Gaby’s Deli, a stalwart part of Charing Cross Road and of every London theatre-goer's map of the West End, is under threat.

Charing Cross Road has already lost most of its independent bookshops; Chinatown has been trampled on by developers who want to root out the Chinese markets; now the Marquess of Salisbury, ground landlord to Gaby’s, has in his wisdom decided that this wonderful independent, in rude financial health and much loved, should be removed so that, as the planning application says, a Strada-like chain restaurant can replace it. WELL, ISN’T THAT JUST WHAT WE NEED, MORE PLASTIC SPAGHETTI?

(Cough. Apologies. OK, I’ve recovered myself now. As you were.)

Theatre-goers, actors, singers, musicians and legions of others simply happy to eat fresh food produced by individuals not conglomerates, priced reasonably and served by staff who know their regulars, are protesting.

Now Alistair Beaton, author of A Very Social Secretary and The Trial of Tony Blair, as well as the West End hit Feelgood, has turned his hand to lyrics, and this is where musical star and Olivier Award-winner Henry Goodman and Cabaret Falafel come in. At Gaby's tomorrow (Thursday, 8 December), at 5.45pm Goodman will perform a song written especially for Gaby’s: entrance is free. So plan for a salt beef spray of song and join in.

In the new year, Gaby’s supporters are also promised a reading from Simon Callow, and a short play, to be set in Gaby’s, written by Costa-shortlisted novelist Roma Tearne and starring Kate Fahy.

For those who can’t make it, "Save Gaby’s Deli" Christmas cards are available (pictured right) to send to your nearest and dearest with a piece of baklava (OK, so I’m just suggesting for my own family here), or without the cake to Boris Johnson, who can step in and change Westminster council’s plans, or to the Marquess of Salisbury himself.

There is, natch, a petition, too.

Make a stand: for Gaby’s, for salt beef, and for independent traders. Not to mention a place to eat before the show.

Make a stand for Gaby’s, for salt beef, and for a place to eat before the show

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What next? Daquise, that bastion of expensive but individual bohemianism? Don't these idiots who pull the strings realise that a city's identity - and especially the West End's - relies on its one-offs? As for theatres, so for cafes and restaurants. Gaby's is a haven in a sea of mediocrity. Haute cuisine it ain't, but it's always tasty and the staff are friendly and helpful.

Sophie, unfortunately, Daquise has already been gentrified and is nothing like its former self. They have simply (partially) kept the name to piggyback on its reputation.

Silly me, I meant to say Bertaux. Daquise, I know, has been totally wrecked with pretentiousness. After all that fight to save it from development, it finally went under in a new wave of Polish poshness.

Gaby's needs lots of friends, so thanks for this great article. If you want to help, go to the info section of the Save Gaby's Deli facebook page. there's alll the suggestions and contacts you could need. There's a go-petition too And tweet @SaveGabys or #savegagbysdeli

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