You realise that the World Cup is about to start, you’re in the middle of the Elephant & Castle and you’ve got nothing planned to watch the first game. What could I do? I made a mad dash across the ‘roundabout’ system, zigzagging between cyclists and cars coming from all directions, and legged it into the shopping centre. Once there I listened for the sweet sounds of football and was soon drawn to Miko’s by the double attraction of alluring aromas of good cooking and a large TV screen above the counter, writes Michael Holland.
Stepping in to Miko’s was like stepping into an old Clint Eastwood spaghetti western where the only one who speaks English is you. On the left hand wall a huge Ecuadorian flag hung proudly amongst South American artefacts. Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly theme tune played in my head. Were those bullet holes? Did that bandido just order 3 coffins or coffees? I reached for my gun, then realised this wasn’t a film… Very soon I was surrounded. I felt naked. ‘Hola,’ I heard behind me. I turned to find a lovely, smiling face welcoming me. The young lady showed me to a table and offered me a menu.
‘Por favor, Madamoiselle,’ I replied, incorrectly using every foreign word I knew. She smiled again, but her eyes said, ‘Do what!’
All eyes were now on the big screen as the Russia v Saudi Arabia game kicked off. I ordered the seafood soup, house special(Sopa de Marisco), and a cold beer, then settled down to watch the game.
These were the lowest ranked teams in the competition so football skills were not high, hence my eyes were often drawn to plates of food going by in the hands of the waitresses. Each one looked fresh, scrumptious and bountiful. They do not scrimp with measly nouvelle cuisine servings here; Miko’s is all about wholesome and hearty and giving the customers what they want. And I wanted.
My meal came with a side order of rice, with fresh lemon to squeeze into the soup – A nice touch. The soup was in a huge bowl that small kids could have paddled in, so I set about it with a spoon and mucho gusto.
The match commentary was in Spanish and the excitable commentator made mere throw ons seem like amazing, overhead scissor kick match winners, and then when Russia scored their first he shouted GOOOAAALLLLLL!!! nonstop, without taking a breath until the Saudis restarted the game! I celebrated by biting into a lovely big prawn.
The soup really had an abundance of seafood: squid, octopus, clams, prawns and the deeper down I got the more fish I found there. By half time I still had a couple of fathoms to go and I seemed to have more prawns than what I began with. Perhaps they were breeding! At one point I thought the Ninja Turtles had turned up, but it was just three of the biggest half-shell mussels I had ever seen lurking at the bottom.
By the second Russian goal I had to give up. I could not finish the soup or all of the rice. But I polished off the Stella Artois, so I didn’t feel entirely ashamed.
Miko’s is a great find for me so I will be going back.
Miko’s, Shopping Centre, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6TB
Tues-Thur 10am – 10pm; Fri-Sat 10am 11pm
SEAFOOD SOUP 14.00
STELLA ARTOIS(pint) 2.50