Why does this blog exist?

Inspired by someone I know who bugged me a million times to read his blog, who was so keen to hear my thoughts about it, I decided to set up a blog of my own, to blog about his blog, so he no longer needs to bug me.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Story: Little Bay Restaurant Farringdon

Now I was looking for a nice but cheap place to go out for dinner with my friends. As usual we struggled to decide on a place.

However, based on a request from my friend Shaniqua*, for’ something different’, I found Little Bay after browsing the web. A quirky little place described as

“Stepping into Little Bay is like entering your eccentric art-nouveau-collecting, gin-sipping aunt's front room. With turquoise velvet walls, gilt-framed Baroque paintings, vintage lampshades and candles flickering in empty wine bottles, this romantic neighbourhood restaurant is a hit with the local media mafia”- well how could I resist?

On arrival it was indeed all of the above! Having been irritated all evening by a contact lens I quickly made my way to the toilet to sort it out. Entering the ostentatiously decorated toilet (turquoise pebbled floor and crazy paved mirror door- definitely my kind of place!), I lent close to the mirror and squeezed my lens. My eyes were really dry and the lens popped out and fell away. Oh man! Getting on my hands and knees I patted my hands over the entire floor.
This lead me to realise 2 things, the floor was very dirty and the light was really dim! Damn, neither was good for my situation. Not wanting to give up I frantically patted every surface in the toilet with one eye shut and the other desperately overcompensating and wide as a Minstrel, trying not to let the dimness beat me- I hate admitting defeat!!

15 mins later, with one eye tired from squinting and the other fatigued from overcompensating, I struck gold as my fingers ran over something wet and squidgy! Joy!!! Eagerly bringing it right up to my face with a big smile and a wide eye ready to review how dirty it was, my mouth curled in disgust- eurghhhhhhhhhh it wasn’t my longed for lens but a small piece of squashed food brought in on someone’s shoe!

It’s really hard to say whether I felt more disappointed or more like wretching. I sat on the toilet for a minute to gather myself, then realised, even if I did find it, the floor was so frickin dirty I wouldn’t want to put it back in my eye anyway!

Defeated and squinting (one eye), I made my way back to the table where my friends Shaniqua, Easty* and Morse* were laughing at how long I’d been in the toilet, speculating on what could have caused ‘my stomach upset’.

On to the food
: I had a classic goats cheese soufflé- I have to say this was really good, one of the best I’ve ever had.

Main: I had lamb which was really well cooked a great size. The food was turning out to be a lot better than I had anticipated. It’s cheap, really cheap when you consider what you get- good size portions, good quality and full of flavour!
We had a side of chips and I think I will only ever eat chips cooked in goose fat from now on- delicious.

Dessert: was a revelation, pistachio crème brule with a wafer straw filled with a white chocolate cream. Again, something totally unexpected, tapping my way through the caramelised top, it was full of flavour. The only criticism is that it was far too small, I could easily have polished off one twice as big! The apple cake Easty had was even better! The delicious crumbly shortbready sponge on top of the lovely fruity stewed apples will be my choice next time!

100% recommend this place. Food was full of flavour and the restaurant, full of character. Although, if you’re scared of clowns, this may not be the right place for you!

*No real names have been used to protect their identities

Story: La dee da Lunching

24th March 2009
So Claridges is somewhere I've always wanted to visit. Seizing this rare opportunity of a day off work I called upon my friend Lionel* who had recently been sacked from his mid level job, to join me on an afternoon of living like a big cheese in London town.

Despite the sacking, Lionel was in particularly high spirits as we made our way to Claridges, me in my funky media type clothes and him in his blazer, carrying his manbag (which he claimed contained documents he needed to prepare for some friends, but I suspect it was part of ‘a look’).

Inside we wandered through the beautiful art deco surroundings trying to find Gordon Ramsay at Claridges. We walked through the jewellery box tea room to find it hidden behind. I handed over my coat to the lady who greeted us with Lionel refusing to hand over his to the 'gypsy at the desk'- bit harsh I thought but that got me questioning my own trusting nature. Should I have handed over my coat so easily? Well, I had emptied the pockets of my oyster card and keys, damn I left my chewing gum in there. I hope she doesnt run off with my H&M classic...I'll want some gum after lunch, unless they give us chocolate mints or humbugs with the bill.

Ushered to our table through a peach, Chanel inspired cloud. We were delightfully engaged by the waiting staff with small talk and polite smiles or as Lionel put it, 'getting hassled quite a bit' said with that tactless lisp that got him sacked in the first place.

The minute we got to the table, Lionel put his manbag down, the existence of the contents, I was yet to be convinced of, and left for the toilet. In the mean time I declined ordering drinks, politely waiting for him to return. 15 mins later and parched, Lionel returns from the toilet- must have been really far away...?

After looking through the 6 available menus we settled on a 3 course set lunch.

Lets Eat
So we began our dining experience with a little cup of creamy soup. Hard to describe apart from nice, buttery with a little dollop of wholegrain mustard (Sainsburys own I think), some tiny cabbage matchsticks and one crouton which was surprising packed with flavour. A really delicious start. The accompanying selection of bread was really good too, onion loaf, sour dough and pumpkin breads.

I had a mosaic of boiled beef, carrots and foie gras, date chutney, toasted sourdough. It was nice, the foie gras was smooth and delicious, the beef was unbelievably tender but the chutney was the best bit, strong in flavour but the bread was more burnt than toasted- disappointing.

Lionel had the Citrus-cured gurnard, beetroot, cucumber and fennel, lime crème fraîche . Pretty but not phenomenal as anticipated.

We both had the pan-fried sea trout with a smoked shellfish cassoulet. The sauce was full of flavour with little bits of razor clam and various shellfish. Yum.

What is he doing?
After ordering dessert Lionel made his excuses and visited the gents again. The maitre d came over to lay a neighbouring table and kindly told me “Don’t worry, he’ll come back and if he doesn’t I don’t know what’s wrong with him” I said thanks and told him if he didn’t, I’d eat his dessert. After all, both sounded really good- the toughest choice of the day.
What was Lionel doing in the toilet….too much rich food takings its toll, surely not this early on in the meal?

Rhubarb parfait, lemon ice cream, lavender shortbread for me. The parfait was again really strongly flavoured and the lemon ice cream intense and refreshing. The shortbread was an added bonus although a little hard to remove thoughts of grandmas talc.

Lionel had valrhona chocolate mousse, blood orange sorbet, toasted banana bread. Once again the grill seems to have been on overdrive as the banana bread came out more singed than toasted.

This is not the end
As we prepared to ask for the bill the waiter brought over a dish with two almond and jam cakes and a dark chocolate truffle filled with a liquid passion fruit centre. After biting into the truffle, Lionel shouted at me and made me eat the thing whole. Spoil sport.

We were then invited to tour the kitchen which was quite interesting but hot as hell.

Overall it was great fun, food was good but I don’t think it was the amazing food experience I'd been anticipating although the unexpected extras really made it. 8/10

*real names have not been used in order to protect their identities

Bluebird, Kings Road

Hmmm good idea, the bread roll looks good. Commentary is more relevant and interesting but as usual your photography could be improved- the first picture looks like a local swimming pool 7/10

The Steak off! Sophie’s vs Gaucho

Hmm finally something that’s worth reading! Good tips on the speedy menu and free lunch. Thanks.

6 S’s- did you make that up- quite good if you did. You could make it the Seven S's if you add in Sweets too.

Slight redesign

9/10 purely for the comedy value

La Brasserie, Brompton Road

Your steak looks a bit ming in that pic

Byron, Kings Road

  • Wah so posh lah
  • Is Lilo talking to you on the phone?
  • Cor look at the size of that bit! What an FP
  • Smell of gas- did you fart?
  • Posts are still long but more interesting 6.5/10