Would you ever eat alone in a restaurant? There – the golden $64000 question, right there. Would you ever have the guts to saunter casually up to the hippest joint in town and casually demand a table for one – and not feel the need to excuse yourself or make inarticulate mutterings about “expecting a friend”? Not many of us would admit to it and, let’s face it, the majority of restaurants still seem to be – if not actually antagonistic – heavily ambivalent towards the solo diner. Read full post
The season’s changing and as it does, so does our taste in food. Suddenly we need something more substantial than a slice of watermelon and a probiotic kale smoothie for lunch; suddenly we need smoke and salt and sugar and substance. So what should you be looking out for this Autumn and Winter? Read full post
Table manners are a funny thing, no? Once regarded as the epitome of a good upbringing, they seem – according to recent surveys – to have fallen by the wayside somewhat, with more and more of us committing an etiquette-related faux pas – and then not really caring about it. They’re sort of seen as really old-fashioned, uptight, not at all loose like we are in the 21st century. Word is, we’re quickly devolving into some kind of urchin Neanderthal species but with better technology.
Oh dear, le pauvre French. They do get their pantalons in a twist, non? In a panic-driven, typically reactionary fashion they’ve invented a new law – “Fait maison” – to help regulate the 135,000 nationwide restaurants who make a habit of reheating industrially-prepared food instead of cooking à la maman, which – as you know – is how all we tourists long to eat when we are ON THE CONTINENT. The little saucepan logo is meant to reassure the customer that there has been “no major modification” to the food on-site, ie, it’s all been freshly prepared and cooked by proper chefs. Unfortunately, the law is so desperate to please simply everyone, it’s laughably nonsensical: Vegetables can be prepared off-site, apart from potatoes; Frozen, smoked and vacuum-sealed food can also be considered home-made. Read full post
It’s long been noted amongst those who note such things that the more cookery shows there are on TV and the more cookbooks proliferate, the less we seem to be able to find our way into that strange and fantastic land known as “The Kitchen” to prepare a simple repast (Yes. Repast. Get over it.) for ourselves and our families. It’s cooking by vicarious means, if you like, as we sit stuffing things that are distinctly not part of our seven-a-day into the gaping national maw. Happily, being the resourceful species that we are, we seem to have found a solution. Read full post
We’re going to get a bit John Lennon on you today. Feeling pained already? Then imagine if there were no restaurant critics, only promo material. Imagine there were no food bloggers, only self-penned love-letters on TripAdvisor. Imagine there was no TripAdvisor!!! [silent yet heartfelt "YES!!!" echoes throughout Restaurant Land] or even us (Booooo!!!). Imagine that even – and let’s go all the way to 1984 with this – you couldn’t even voice your own personal subjective opinion on a restaurant because they will Sue. Your. Ass. Off. Read full post
Holiday season is nearly upon us and reportedly 60% of us are planning to “staycation” this year chez nous (apparently some of you are interested in something called the “Global FussBall Cup”…?). Whevs, this surely means treating you and yours to traditional British seaside holiday flavours, no? Walking hand-in-hand down Blackpool promenade with a newspaper cone redolent with the sharp tang of just too much salt and vinegar and the greasy, satisfying pull of fresh batter and chips; the unceasing magic of candy floss, no matter how old you are; the curiously grown-up cream tea from Devon or Cornwall which still has the power to make takers sit a little straighter and eat a little slower. Postcard memories ingrained in the patriotic DNA of every family in the country. Read full post