James Bond dines - from Casino Royale
James Bond dines – from Casino Royale
“But it was only an infinitesimal clink of foils and as the bowing maitre d’hotel led them through the crowded room, it was forgotten as Bond in her wake watched the heads of the diners turn to look at her.
The fashionable part of the restaurant was beside the wide crescent of window built out like the broad stern of a ship over the hotel gardens, but Bond had chosen a table in one of the mirrored alcoves at the back of the great room. These had survived from Edwardian days and they were secluded and gay in white and gilt, with the red silk-shaded table and wall lights of the late Empire.
As they deciphered the maze of purple ink which
covered the double folio menu, Bond beckoned to the
sommelier. He turned to his companion.
‘Have you decided?’
‘I would love a glass of vodka,’ she said simply, and
went back to her study of the menu.
‘A small carafe of vodka, very cold,’ ordered Bond.
He said to her abruptly: ‘I can’t drink the health of your
new frock without knowing your Christian name.’
‘Vesper, ‘ she said. ‘Vesper Lynd. ‘ ,.
Bond gave her a look of inquiry.
‘It’s rather a bore always having to explain but I was
born in the evening, on a very stormy evening according
to my parents. Apparently they wanted to remember it.’
She smiled. ‘Some people like it, others don’t. I’m just
used to it.’
‘I think it’s a fine name,’ said Bond. An idea struck
him. ‘Can I borrow it? He explained about the special
Martini he had invented and his search for a name for it.
‘The Vesper,’ he said. ‘It sounds perfect and it’s very
appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will
now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it? ‘
‘So long as I can try one first she promised.. ‘It
sounds a drink to be proud of.’
‘We’ll have one together when all this is finished,’
said Bond. ‘Win or lose. And now have you decided
what you would like to have for dinner? Please be ex-
pensive, ‘ he, added as he sensed her hesitation, ‘or you’ll
let down that beautiful frock.’ .’-,
‘I’d made two choices,’ she laughed, ‘and either
would have been delicious; but behaving like a
millionaire occasionally is a wonderful treat, and if
you’re sure . . . well, I’d like to start with caviar and
then have a/plain grilled rognon de veau with pommes ‘
souffles. And then I’d like to have fraises des bois with a
lot of cream. Is it very shameless to be so certain and so
expensive? ‘ She smiled at him inquiringly.
‘It’s a virtue, and anyway’ it’s only a good plain wholesome meal.’
He turned to the maitre d’hotel. ‘And
bring plenty of toast.”
‘The trouble always is,’ he explained to Vesper, ‘not
how to get enough caviar, but how to get enough toast
‘Now,’ he turned back to the menu, ‘I myself will
accompany Mademoiselle with the caviar; but then I
would like a very small tournedos, underdone, with
sauce Bearnaise and a coeur d’artichaut. While
Mademoiselle is enjoying the strawberries, I will have an
avocado pear with a little French dressing. Do you approve?’
The maitre d’hotel bowed.
‘My compliments, mademoiselle and monsieur. Mon-
sieur George . . .’ He turned to the sommelier and
repeated the two dinners for his benefit .
‘Parfait,’ said the sommelier, proffering the leather-
bound wine list.
‘If you agree,’ said Bond, ‘I would prefer to drink
champagne with you tonight. It is a cheerful wine, and it
suits the occasion — I hope,’ he added.
‘Yes, I would like champagne, ‘ she said.
With his finger on the page, Bond turned to the
sommelier: ‘The Taittinger 45?’
‘A fine wine, monsieur,’ said the sommelier. ‘But if
Monsieur will permit,’ he pointed with his pencil, ‘the
Brut Blanc de Blanc 1943 of the same marque is without
Bond smiled. ‘So be it,’ he said.
“That is not a well-known brand,’ Bond explained to
his companion, ‘but it is probably the finest champagne
in the world.’ He grinned suddenly at the touch of
pretension in his remark.
‘You must forgive me,’ he said. ‘I take a ridiculous
pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from
being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot
of trouble over details. It’s very pernickety and old-
maidish really, but then when I’m working I generally
have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.’
Vesper smiled at him.
‘I like it,’ she said. ‘I like doing everything fully, get-
ting the most out of everything one does. I think that’s
the way to live. But it sounds rather schoolgirlish when
one says it, she added apologetically.
The little carafe of Vodka had arrived in its bowl of
crushed ice, and Bond filled their glasses.
‘Well, I agree with you anyway,’ he said, ‘and now,
here’s luck for tonight, Vesper.’
‘Yes,’ said the girl quietly, as she held up her small,
glass and looked at him with a curious directness
straight in the eyes. ‘I hope all will go well tonight.
She seemed to Bond to give a quick involuntary shrug
of the shoulders as she spoke, but then she leant impulsively towards him. :
‘I have some news for you from Mathis. He was
longing to tell you himself. It’s, about the bomb: It’s a