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Archive for the category “Food”


It’s fair to say, the weekend just gone was pretty varied. Busy too, but definitely varied.

Friday evening was spent with friends seeing a small gig by Professor Elemental – very silly all round, but also very late, as he didn’t go on stage ’til 22:30 in the end. It meant I didn’t get home ’til nearly 2am…

Saturday morning was spent at the cinema, seeing the new Ghostbusters film. (Small review : Enjoyed it a lot, far more than I expected to, and it’s just entertaining silliness) Then in the evening I was over in Cambridge, going for a thoroughly enjoyable and fantastic meal at Midsummer House.

Then on Sunday I was awake by 6am, and generally too warm. So one “oh sod it” moment later, I was on the way down to Whitstable and Tankerton, and spent the day by the beach, roasting quietly.  Happily and fortuitously, it turned out that Whitstable Castle was having a food fair, so that was lunch sorted. And then mid-afternoon driving home, looking at all the queues on the other side of the road and thanking God I wasn’t involved in it all, considering how hot it still was.

Finishing off with a quiet evening catching up on recorded TV etc., it was a very pleasant weekend – but definitely surrounded by all the random…

Another Culture Weekend

The weekend just gone turned out to be another of my more “Culture”-based ones, and was thoroughly enjoyable.

Saturday involved a drive down to Bray in Berkshire, for a meal at the Waterside Inn. Having been quite disappointed earlier in the year by the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Dorchester in London, I’d decided I should try another one for comparison purposes, and opted for the Waterside, as it’s had those three stars for thirty years now.

Safe to say, I’m very glad I did – I had a fab time (including getting to meet and have a quick chat with Michel Roux) and really enjoyed the entire meal. Sadly – although understandably – they don’t allow phones/cameras or photos in the dining room, so I couldn’t do my usual of taking a pic of each course, so you’ve been spared that ordeal, but it was definitely still brilliant.

Then on Sunday I went down to London, and saw Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe – and thoroughly enjoyed that, too. I’m still very much a newcomer to Shakespeare in general, so can’t comment on how it’s been done this time in comparison to other staging etc., all I can do is say that I found it great, and a brilliant production. The weather wasn’t the best, so I was glad to be in the galleries rather than the standing area – although the seats were still bloody uncomfortable due to other people spreading themselves wide, and I ended up standing instead for the second half.

I’d done some other food/burger-based bits either side of the main play, so ended up walking about 17km during the day, but that’s just me and my own idiocies and preferences.

All told though, a decent weekend – and quite quiet/easy by my standards, with less driving and so on. An all-round win, in my opinion. 🙂

Weekend Travel – Sunday

Having done Manchester on Saturday, I then went down to London on Sunday – I’d made plans and reservations for the early evening, but went down early because, frankly, I’m a bad, bad man.

The main objective was the next Michelin-starred place on my list-of-sorts, the two-starred Hélène Darroze at the Connaught Hotel. That had been booked for a while, and I’ve been looking forward to it for ages.

But then another of my favourite places, Blues Kitchen, announced their latest burger special, the Piskey Whickle, which was introduced on Sunday.

2016-05-01 14.27.21So that just had to be done…

It ended up that I went in earlier than expected, then walked to Blues Kitchen (3 miles, from Euston) for the special, and then across London (another 4 miles) to vegetate around Berkeley Square for a while until it was time for the evening meal.  Frankly, it was the only way I could justify doing both on the same day, but as I had the time and the inclination, why not?

The meal at Darroze was spectacular – I would say it’s now the best place I’ve been to on this project, and I massively enjoyed the entire experience. The only exception was my first instance of being a messy sod in a Michelin-starred place – a piece of food fell off my fork, straight into a sauce that can only be described as “hyper-green” – splat. Jackson Pollock all over the pristine white tablecloth. ‘If you’re going to do it, do it with style‘, that’s my motto.

Because of the time, I wussed out of walking back to Euston, so got the tube from Green Park back to Euston, and then a train home – again, all remarkably smooth, and a contented end to a fantastic weekend…


Today I’m off down to London with a couple of friends, doing another Burger Crawl.

It’s been organised by one of the others, so I’ve no idea what the full plan/route is yet, but it should be fun.


This week, I went to a restaurant that insisted on a certain level of dress-code. Nothing too epic, thankfully, but it turned out my standard footwear (Cat boots) wouldn’t have been allowed in, so I needed to buy some new dress shoes, or at least thin-soled ‘smart’ shoes.

It was semi-short notice, so I didn’t have the chance to wear them in properly – and I knew it would cause issues.

I managed to plan most of it so I didn’t have to walk as far as I normally would’ve done (had I been allowed to wear my normal, comfortable shoes) and I’m glad I did, because I still ended up with a sod-load of blisters along the way.

Weirdly, both my little toes ended up blistered, and I’m really not sure how that happened. The worst one is on one heel, about the size of a 50p piece.  On that one, thank God for Compeed – their blister plasters are creepy as chuff, but bloody hell, do they work.

I know they’ll all heal up this week – it’s just a massive pain in the tits while they’re around. Such is life.

(And no, the meal wasn’t really worth the hassle of new shoes and blistered feet. Sad, but true – it was good, but not brilliant, which is galling when it’s a place that’s so highly rated all round)


Last year, I started a project to get used to going out for restaurant meals on my own – something that had always been a bit of a “thing” in my mind. Some people don’t like going to the cinema alone, or to pubs.

Part of it became a plan to do more “high-end” eating – if I’m going to eat solo, I might as well make it decent stuff – as well as the usual things, and as a result I ended up eating in a few Michelin-starred places which I really enjoyed. (Far more than I did my previous experience with Michelin-starred places)

I’m keeping up that aim this year, with a vague plan of trying a wide range over the year, and aiming to ‘collect’ a star a month. (Not necessarily at a place each month, but at least averaging it out to one star per month)

So far this year I’ve eaten in a one-star place and a three – with a two lined up for the coming month. From there, I’ve got a couple of others booked up already, and we’ll see how things go from there.

I don’t only eat in Michelin places, by any stretch of the imagination. My tastes are varied – I’m still amused by the Scotland trip I did last year, where I ate in a Michelin-starred place on the Saturday, and a daggy little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place on the Sunday – and I never want to end up the kind of up-myself twerd who’ll only eat at high-end places.  This is just a silly side-project that’s also a lot of fun, and is eminently doable. I get to experience a lot of new stuff, seeing what’s good and what isn’t.

I can’t deny, I’m fascinated by the whole thing – the levels of food, the differences (or lack thereof) between places with one, two and three stars, the differences between places with stars and those that haven’t, and the whole experience of the thing. But mainly, it’s fun – and if I’m going to have a ‘sin’, a money-drain or whatever, it’s going to be this one.

Slowing Down – Allegedly

Last week, I wrote about how things were slowing down a bit at last from the madness of January. And that’s true – well, kind-of.

As it is, before the end of February I’ve got scheduled (in no particular order)…

  • A very fancy meal in London, which I’m looking forward to (and for the faffing about I’ve had to do, had bloody better be worth it)
  • A birthday event in Oxford  (it’s hard to call them birthday parties when the person isn’t a child!)
  • A gig in Manchester (another mid-weeker, I must be fucking mental)
  • A gig in Oxford
  • The final bit of work on the car for this session (I hope)
  • New glasses to collect
  • A full weekend break on the South Coast

So yes, not really all that quiet after all…

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