Very pleasant evening in Al Hamra, thanks to bellinghman
for the recommendation. We sat outside, superb atmosphere, good food, a great balance of metropolitan chic, continental charm and the eastern exotic which worked well for my mother. On the downside service was a bit borderline and it was very pricey for what it offered, but overall it was a great success. Thanks to everybody else for their recommendations, I've a note of one or two other promising looking places now.
On the train back I sat in the middle of a group of second year Cambridge undergrads, unavoidably listening to their conversations. They were all obviously talented singers, coming back from some performance in London. It was both interesting and demoralising to overhear their concerns and prejudices. The concerns were fairly predictable, the quest to reach at least a 2:1 level while continuing their non-academic pursuits.
They were arts students, linguists and classicists, most of their conversation wasn't exactly about music, but more about the people involved in the music. It was nearly as obsessively monotopical as a bunch of compscis discussing routing protocols. The demoralizing factor was their casually dismissive attitude of natural science as "boring" and their characterisation of the nerdish nature of computer science. It bothers me that there's this great divide between the sciences and the arts that isn't easily bridged. Within the scope of human endeavour one gives an understanding of "how", the other of "why". Without unifying understanding of the two, you'll never begin to understand a society so heavily shaped by both human minds and natural laws.