Never eat anything bigger than your head
Whenever you see crossed chives you are in trouble
Cookery Quote
We should all be eating less meat and better meat

Taste

Merry Festives

For those of us who are card carrying members of the “Bah Humbug” society Christmas is in danger of going on a bit too long. The era when we solemnly ate a mince pie on each of the twelve days of Christmas has been replaced by an attempt to eat 12 mince pies on each of the two days of Christmas. As dawn breaks on Boxing Day elite teams of shoppers are all checking their equipment before diving into the feeding frenzy know as the “sales”. Millions of people, behaving oddly and spending billions of pounds. And their justification?

Burgering around, Bar Boulud

In September 2010, when Bar Boulud was still a new kitchen on the scene, this very website gave Bar Boulod a cautious welcome. Fast Forward a couple of years and the Bar is a busy restaurant rammed full of visitors to London. There are Brits taking advantage of long, all day opening hours and a menu littered with familiar and comfortable dishes, but they are outnumbered by the tourists.

All Hail Manchego

Never mind Black Sunday, or the first Monday of December – both dates when we are all supposed to go loopy and volley off billions as we internet shop ourselves into Christmas oblivion. The most irritating annual conjunction occurs when the diary god chuckles as he arranges the Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards on the same day, and in the same place, as the World Cheese Awards. This means judging cheese during the morning, then as the cheese folk settle down to decent lunch, rushing to the other end of the NEC for the Food and Farming Awards.

Happy Birthday Cafe Spice

It’s a rather odd birthday to make a fuss of, but last night Cyrus and Perveen Todiwala held a party to celebrate Café Spice Namaste’s seventeen years on Prescot Street. The food at Café Spice has always been difficult to pigeon-hole as dishes come from all over the Indian sub-continent and are underpinned by a fanatical loyalty to specialist suppliers – also at the dinner was the lady who has supplied the kitchen with venison for the last seven years. It is fair to say that over the years I have never eaten Cyrus’s food without there being a surprise or two.

One of the world's great breakfasts

On a recent mission to Northern Ireland – to speak at the opening of the Belfast Restaurant Week – it quickly became apparent that this small corner of the United Kingdom has some seriously good ingredients, some talented chefs and people who take a great interest in food. Belfast is tiny (ranked by population London is some forty times larger) and this October saw the first ever Belfast Restaurant Week, but even so 83 restaurants joined in. Special menus, special dishes, agreeably low prices and a genuine buzz.

Souping things up

October used to be the time of the Hunter’s Moon and the tail end of an Indian Summer, now with the wanderings of the jet-stream and the slippage of the seasons it has become an altogether chillier, damper, danker kind of month. As the central heating is turned on; as a load of logs is delivered; as the oil tanker measures out 750 litres of fuel oil (at a price that values said oil somewhere between caviar and truffles) the sensible kitchen turns to soup in all its guises.

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Merry Festives

For those of us who are card carrying members of the “Bah Humbug” society Christmas is in danger of going on a bit too long. The era when we solemnly ate a mince pie on each of the twelve days of Christmas has been replaced by an attempt to eat 12 mince pies on each of the two days of Christmas. As dawn breaks on Boxing Day elite teams of shoppers are all checking their equipment before diving into the feeding frenzy know as the “sales”. Millions of people, behaving oddly and spending billions of pounds. And their justification?

Burgering around, Bar Boulud

In September 2010, when Bar Boulud was still a new kitchen on the scene, this very website gave Bar Boulod a cautious welcome. Fast Forward a couple of years and the Bar is a busy restaurant rammed full of visitors to London. There are Brits taking advantage of long, all day opening hours and a menu littered with familiar and comfortable dishes, but they are outnumbered by the tourists.

All Hail Manchego

Never mind Black Sunday, or the first Monday of December – both dates when we are all supposed to go loopy and volley off billions as we internet shop ourselves into Christmas oblivion. The most irritating annual conjunction occurs when the diary god chuckles as he arranges the Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards on the same day, and in the same place, as the World Cheese Awards. This means judging cheese during the morning, then as the cheese folk settle down to decent lunch, rushing to the other end of the NEC for the Food and Farming Awards.

Happy Birthday Cafe Spice

It’s a rather odd birthday to make a fuss of, but last night Cyrus and Perveen Todiwala held a party to celebrate Café Spice Namaste’s seventeen years on Prescot Street. The food at Café Spice has always been difficult to pigeon-hole as dishes come from all over the Indian sub-continent and are underpinned by a fanatical loyalty to specialist suppliers – also at the dinner was the lady who has supplied the kitchen with venison for the last seven years. It is fair to say that over the years I have never eaten Cyrus’s food without there being a surprise or two.

One of the world's great breakfasts

On a recent mission to Northern Ireland – to speak at the opening of the Belfast Restaurant Week – it quickly became apparent that this small corner of the United Kingdom has some seriously good ingredients, some talented chefs and people who take a great interest in food. Belfast is tiny (ranked by population London is some forty times larger) and this October saw the first ever Belfast Restaurant Week, but even so 83 restaurants joined in. Special menus, special dishes, agreeably low prices and a genuine buzz.

Souping things up

October used to be the time of the Hunter’s Moon and the tail end of an Indian Summer, now with the wanderings of the jet-stream and the slippage of the seasons it has become an altogether chillier, damper, danker kind of month. As the central heating is turned on; as a load of logs is delivered; as the oil tanker measures out 750 litres of fuel oil (at a price that values said oil somewhere between caviar and truffles) the sensible kitchen turns to soup in all its guises.

Pages

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  • Fish soup at Terroirs
  • Duck soup at Min Jiang
  • Pho at Song Que
  • Tripe soup at Istanbul Iskembecisi
  • London Particular at the Coach & Horses