Little is known about The D/C: a Sociopath with impeccable dress sense he has a proclivity to grow his own facial hair, is quick to anger and always eager to drink. Upon their first meeting George Bernard-Shaw likened The D/C’s character to that of a Molotov Cocktail, just before he was stabbed through the face with a broken pool-cue. His inclusion as one of the Five Riders of The Booze-pocalypse is mandatory. Not only would it be far too dangerous to leave him out but his refusal to drive anywhere using major roads (The D/C is 7-times World Rally Champion and the only man to win the title before the age of 9 whilst sporting a moustache) and his total lack of a sense of direction make him the prime candidate to judge the accessibility of any given pub: if The D/C can find it then so can a pack of Hedgehogs trapped in a brown paper bag. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Rider No.2: The Despicable Cunt.
Monthly Archives: February 2011
The popularity and success of A Capital Pub has proved phenomenal, of that there can be no doubt. So successful has it turned out to be that even the priapic genius behind this monumental quest has been taken by surprise. Its impact has been as profound as any religious epiphany, as sweeping as any Tsunami, as historic as any uprising. It has shaken society to the core. It is true that the widespread anti-government demonstrations that currently sweep the Middle East are about the peoples’ attempts to over-throw despotic and tyrannical autocrats in the name of democracy and justice. But they are also about A Capital Pub. The quest to find London’s greatest boozer has seized the imagination of the globe in a way that few expected. It is zeitgeist. It is real. It is essential. And it is boozy. The task seems almost insurmountable. Just as David, sling in hand, his feet firmly planted on the weather-beaten battle field of the Valley of Elah, must have peered up the towering six cubits and a span that was the Philistine Goliath and thought “Awwww Shitballs”, so too the architect of A Capital Pub stands before his tormentor: the 7000 Public Houses of this fair city. How can one man ever do justice to such a plethora of places? How can one man consume that much beer? How can one man be THAT attractive? The answer is with help. He is a popular man. A man of guile and spunk. A man of means and standing. A man with many friends. And it is to these friends he now turns. He will call upon four. Men upon whom he has relied. Men he can trust. Men who still have their own livers. Each has a skill, an attribute which singles them out as an indispensable compatriot. These will be utilised. The team will nourish the creator, as a babe sups on the engorged bangers of its mother. And there will be much rejoicing. Every week a different member of the team will be revealed. Each week the team will grow in strength and with each new addition the quest for A Capital Pub will inch ever closer. Ladies and Gentlemen the time has come. Publicans throw open your doors: the time is nigh. THE FIVE RIDERS OF THE BOOZE-POCALYPSE ARE COMING!
People don’t drink enough Champagne in my opinion. Except the French. Damn them. Hopefully this particular example will change that. The nose is a gorgeous blend of nutty toffee, the aroma of Creme Brulee and something approaching a cheesy overtone, much like a Comte. This is a totally brilliant thing. The palate shows many similarities with the addition of white-fleshed fruit and the nuttiness of brown sugar. The flavours couple with a wonderfully full, buttery, voluptuous mouth-feel which never becomes too rich because of the effervescent mousse that evaporates on the tongue leaving a great tingle. The finish is incredibly long and persistent. You can still taste the whole thing, in all its complexities 5, 10 minutes later. Vintage is hugely important to bottles of Champagne. Clearly the age plays a huge part here but you can just tell that the craft and dedication that goes into this wine will show through in any incarnation. Like I say, we should all drink more Champagne. At £80 a bottle I’m not sure we’re all going to be drinking lots more of this, but if you want to celebrate something sack-off Cristal or Krug and get some Comtes in your life. In a word: AWESOME!
Price? £80 – 120
Where? Majestic/LHK Fine Wines
Restaurant: Launceston Place
Address: 1A Launceston Place, London, W8 5RL
Contact: 020 7937 6912 * http://www.launcestonplace-restaurant.co.uk
Opening times: Lunch – Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 – 14.30
Sunday 12:00 – 15:00
Dinner – Monday – Saturday 18:00 – 22:30
Sunday – 18.30 – 22.00
Tubes: High Street Kensington, Gloucester Road
You don’t hear much hype about Launceston Place these days. Maybe it’s because the current Head Chef, Tristan Welch, has been there for 3 years now and so isn’t considered news worthy. Maybe it’s because the restaurant has embedded itself into the fabric of the London scene so snuggly that it is quietly accepted. Or maybe it’s because it’s hidden away in West London. I don’t know. What I do know is that it is brilliant. Everything about it is brilliant: the ambience, the staff, the food, the wine list, the price, everything. The feel of the place is at once intimate, welcoming, relaxed, chic and inviting. The staff are clued-up, very approachable and seemingly happy. The food is incredibly good, interesting without being faddy, packed with flavour and presented beautifully. The wine list is well-priced, offers good options by the glass and half-bottle and consists of trusted, good producers at every turn. The restaurant also gets involved with all kinds of special promotions such as 3 courses for £30 (which was actually more like 5 courses – amuse-bouches here, homemade bread and butter there) and by doing so presents very, very good value for money.
Conclusion: I urge everyone to go. Take a date. Eat great food, get a bit drunk and go home together very happy.
Price: Special offer or no you could spend £100 for three courses, with a glass of wine each, and for this standard of restaurant, in London, that is a bargain.
Address: 157 Commercial St., London, E1 6BJ
Contact: 020 7247 7392 * http://www.thehawksmoor.co.uk
Opening times: Brunch – Saturday 11:00 – 16:00
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
Lunch – Monday – Friday 12:00 – 15:00
Dinner – Monday – Saturday 18:00 – 22:30
Tubes: Old Street, Aldgate & Liverpool Street
The original of the Hawksmoor Steakhouses (a second has sprung up in Seven Dials and word on the street is there is a third in the offing) is a powerhouse of a meat emporium. It’s a moodily lit, leather bound Speakeasy kind of a place that makes a man feel like a man. The bar specialises in old-fashioned cocktails: light on garnish, heavy on flavour. Juleps are a focus all at £7.50. These are seriously good. So is the steak. Much has been written about just how good the meat at Hawksmoor is. You might say the steaks are high……Every expectation is met. This is the best steak I’ve had anywhere outside Chicago. Both restaurants are supplied by The Ginger Pig, which is a brilliant butchers. Steaks are seared over charcoal giving them a fantastic smokey flavoured crust which yields succulent, juicy pink flesh. The wine list is home to some real behemoths as is befitting of this kind of food. The restaurant also runs personalised Steak and Wine Clubs which does away with the need to set up those stupid Facebook groups. Nice touch. If there is a downside it is pretty expensive (although that in no way means it isn’t worth it) which means you can’t go everyday: sad smiley face.
Conclusion: Fantastic. Go. Soon.
One of the first things I set out to do online was publish a host of restaurant reviews. I’ve eaten in some truly brilliant restaurants and subscribe whole-heartedly to the idea of sharing information about places that deserve to be busy. Of all the things people publish on the web information about restaurants is some of the most useful and potentially rewarding. And yet, to date, I have not documented a single one. The primary reason for this gastronomic silence is that I am conflicted about the whole process of amateur reviews: I at once see the benefit in doing it and yet am left cold by the whole process. I think the problem lies in the sheer amount of stuff out there and the form in which it takes. Reviewing restaurants is the zeitgeist of the Twenty-first century. The web is chock-a-block with articles, blogs and websites dedicated to documenting every aspect of the “eating out experience”. Thousands upon thousands of words are given over to describing the atmosphere, service, textures and flavours of the food. There are endless pictures of the dishes; photos taken from ever conceivable angle, at seemingly never-ending stages of whatever tasting menu the blogger happens to be enduring. And that is the overall impression that I, as a reader, am left with: that the whole process – both the meal and the subsequent cataloguing of it – was and is an endurance. To plough through these incredibly detailed and, no doubt, authoritative reviews is such an arduous process that it becomes something of a chore. And that just shouldn’t be the lasting effect that food leaves one with. Food is an all-encompassing sensory experience but it seems that it is very much of the present, experienced personally and the wonder and joy of the whole thing is totally lost in the recounting of it. Once removed from, or indeed never included in, the initial experience it becomes a two-dimensional thing which alienates the reader. It articulates itself as an indulgence, devoid of any real pleasure. This is something of a paradox because clearly for anybody to have gone to such lengths to record a meal in such detail singles it out as an experience worthy of such efforts. The meal must have been sublime, dramatic, incredible to inspire such ardour in the author. And yet the finished article so often conveys none of that, even with its beautiful digital photography. And that is a problem. It makes you question the point of going to such lengths, a frustrating thing in itself because I totally see a use for restaurant reviews. I want to hear about new openings. I want to hear about others’ experience of such and such a place. I want to know my £100 will be wisely spent. I don’t want to get food poisoning and I absolutely see a point to sharing information…..It’s just I really don’t want to read 3,000 words about Koffman On The Roof. I’d rather just go.
Upshot of all this is I have decided to document the really good places I have eaten in, but I’m going to do it in brief. I’ll include important information such as price and location and why it’s good but I’m not going to bleat on about every single dish in perpetuity. I’m going to be succinct. That way people can scan the blog, get the gist and then go and experience the place for themselves. The way it’s meant to happen.
EPISODE FIVE: PRESENTS FOR ALL
Giving day had arrived in Valley Park and as a celebration the locals gave things to each other. What they gave was their business and nobody else’s. They were worried. What if the wrong things were given? This was as problematic for the locals as a brick feeding other bricks.
Address: The Terrace, Barnes, London, SW13 0NR, 020 8876 5177
The Blurb: The pub is cavernous, split over two floors with a river terrace affording great views of…the river….Despite its size the place is surprisingly comfortable. There are 4 ales on tap – two by Youngs, two by Wells including Banana Bread beer which is ace. All are well kept. The more ubiquitous lagers are just that and therefore not worthy of a mention. Bar snacks are really good and available all day, everyday. The menu reads badly but the burger I ate was lovely. Service was good, in the main, aside from some militant Antipodean who told me that it was going to be sooooo busy in the pub due to the rugby that I might as well leave because there wouldn’t be any room for me….The rugby was indeed on, which we won, but it didn’t seem to impact on my beer consumption or enjoyment of the whole thing. It is, however, in Barnes. Did I mention that? Probably not because I don’t really know where Barnes is. I’m not sure Barnes knows where it is either. And that is a problem.
The Scores: Accessibility: – 2, Beer Choice – 4, Bar Snacks – 3.5, Ambience – 4, Value for Money – 3
Overall: 16.5/25 Pints
EPISODE FOUR: LOLAND MEALS
Yes, there was something wrong in Valley Park and the locals knew it. They were worried and that didn’t help anyone, least of all Loland Meals who was bigger than a ticket.