Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Let's go to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The glorious Meat Fruit
What can anyone say about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal that hasn't already been said? I mean, it was the most anticipated restaurant opening in London of 2011, and is still as popular judging by the difficulty in securing a prime-time table. That will get even harder now that Dinner has entered the hallowed ranks of the Top 10 best restaurants in the world at number nine. It even pipped its older brother The Fat Duck which sank to 13. Now, in my opinion, there is no way that Dinner is the 9th best restaurant in the world, one rank behind the incredible Arzak for example. That's not to say that you won't eat well at Dinner, because you most certainly will.

Monday, 28 May 2012

A slice of Naples in London at Saporitalia

Pizza heading into the oven at Saporitalia
After my recent trip to Italy which included a few trips to Naples to eat what else but pizza, I forlornly resigned myself to possibly never eating a slice again. You see, my pizza experience at Da Michele was so good I just assumed it would never be matched. That crunchy, but still chewy, fire-charred crust has not been far from from my mind since we returned to London. But now there is Saporitalia, a new offering right on Portobello Road, that will likely keep my pizza cravings at bay until I get myself back to Naples.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Petersham Nurseries Cafe is worth the wait

Standing rib eye of veal, farro, artichokes, hazelnut agresto
I should probably do more exercise. That thought struck me as I ambled along the Thames from Richmond station towards Petersham Nurseries on the weekend. Mr B and I strode past cyclists, power walkers, runners and a mess of rowers (well, there was a regatta on) most of whom were keeping the tills at Hollister and Jack Wills ringing. Not that I'm sedentary, but my exercise is usually more confined to the inside of a gym or a yoga studio. Anyway, despite the lack of sunshine, and some pangs of inadequacy, it was a pleasant walk by the water and long enough to work up an appetite for our lunch. If we'd had more time, we would have lingered to look at the Royal barge Gloriana, looking all shiny and resplendent but, sadly, sans monarch.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

An impromptu dinner with wild asparagus

Do you ever find yourself presented with an ingredient curve-ball? I had a moment like that this week when Mr B brought home a bunch of wild asparagus and tasked me to prepare dinner. The defrosted chicken thighs that I was going to steam and drizzle with a spicy Asian dressing were going to have to wait. I wasn't quite convinced that chilli chicken with a side of wild asparagus were happy plate partners.

Wild asparagus isn't really something you come across in UK food markets, although it's more common on the Continent. When I lived in Brussels (thankfully briefly), wild asparagus would crop up in the early part of Spring. Mr B once cooked a gloriously memorable dish with the thin asparagus spears, fresh morels, bacon and new potatoes with inspiration taken from the Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor cookbook. Actually, the local neighbourhood markets were the best thing about living in Brussels.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Meet me at MEATmarket

When you're on a good thing, stick to it, right? Well, the team behind Meatwagon and MEATliquor don't seem to agree. At the freshly opened MEATmarket, their second bricks and mortar offering, it's almost the opposite of the MEATliquor experience. Sure the burgers are the same quality, but it's in other areas that things are different, and, well, better. The new venue is light and airy instead of dark and dingy (not that that is a bad thing, mind), the queue potential is lower, plus they sell milkshakes. Joy! Obviously the goal was not to replicate the original success because the two spots aim give you different experiences. MEATliquor is the kind of place you want to sink into and sample as many cocktails as your liver allows, whereas MEATmarket is a drive-by kinda joint and the set up reflects that ease. Don't get confused though. This food isn't fast like McDonald's. It's more like Ronald on steroids.